Geneva, June 18: One in a hundred deaths globally can directly be attributed to suicide, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased factors for suicide worldwide.
In 2019, more than 700,000 people died of suicide, one in 100 deaths, which was more than HIV, malaria, wars or homicide, the world body said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The same year, prior to the global pandemic, the global suicide rate was decreasing everywhere, the WHO declared, with exception of the Americas region that saw increases of 17 per cent.
Among young people aged 15-29, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death after road injury, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.
According to the WHO, more than twice as many males die due to suicide as females (12.6 per 100 000 males compared with 5.4 per 100 000 females).
Suicide rates among men are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100 000).
For females, the highest suicide rates are found in lower-middle-income countries (7.1 per 100 000).
Suicide rates in the WHO African (11.2 per 100 000), European (10.5 per 100 000) and South-East Asia (10.2 per 100 000) regions were higher than the global average (9.0 per 100 000) in 2019.
The lowest suicide rate was in the Eastern Mediterranean region (6.4 per 100 000).
The spread of the coronavirus has caused turmoil in societies, increasing factors of suicide globally, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted.
“Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months living with the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide, job loss, financial stress and social isolation, still very much present,” Tedros was quoted as saying in the statement.
The WHO announced series of guidance, under the name ‘LIVE LIFE’, to improve suicide prevention.
The role of media was emphasized by the WHO that declared that many reports of suicide, especially if they described the methods used or focused on celebrities, could increase risks of so-called “copycat suicides”.
“We cannot and must not ignore suicide. Each one is a tragedy,” Tedros added.