UN, 10 September 2007 – With one person taking their own life every 30 seconds, the United Nations is marking World Suicide Prevention Day today (Monday, 10/9/2007) by appealing for bolstered efforts to stem suicide rates among people of all ages.
Statistics also show that in adults, suicide is a leading cause of death, accounting for more deaths than those resulting from wars and homicide. In short, “more human beings kill themselves than kill others each year,” said Brian Mishara, President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), which has partnered with WHO to improve national responses to prevent suicide.
While progress has been made in curbing suicides among youth worldwide, suicide rates among young adolescents under the age of 15 have surged while the elderly rate remains high, especially among men in developed countries, Dr. Mishara told reporters in New York.
Asked about religious positions on suicide, he said Christianity and Islam certainly condemned it, but Hinduism and Confucianism were “a bit more neutral”. However, desperation affected people of all religious faiths and suicide could result from social or other problems.
He noted that Islamic countries generally had a much lower suicide rate than others, two explanations being religious condemnation and greater family integration and social support. In Western countries, by contrast, more people lived alone with no confidants or other recourse. It was important to note, however, that many more people survived suicide attempts than those who actually died. “Even desperate people who initiate an attempt change their minds somewhere along the way,” he added.