Explained: A suicide every 40 seconds, taking stock of global trends

News:The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a study which shows that suicides account for one death every 40 seconds.


Key findings of the study:

  • The study has shown that close to 8 lakh people die due to suicide every year.In other words,suicides account for one death every 40 seconds.
  • The global age-standardized suicide rate for 2016 was 10.5 per 100,000.
  • The study has shown that 79% of the world’s suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries.But high-income countries also had the highest rate at 11.5 per 100 000.
  • Further,nearly three times as many men as women die by suicide in high-income countries,in contrast to low- and middle-income countries, where the rate is more equal.
  • The study has also said that suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years after road injury.

Recommendations:The key interventions that have shown success in reducing suicides are 

  • restricting access to means
  • educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide
  • implementing programmes among young people to build life skills that enable them to cope with life stresses
  • Early identification, management and follow-up of people at risk of suicide.

Additional information:

Attempt to commit suicide not an offence

  • Parliament had passed the Mental health care Act in 2017.This act had brought changes in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (which criminalized attempted suicide).
  • The act says that a person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed to be suffering from severe stress and shall not be subjected to any investigation or prosecution.
  • The act also envisages the establishment of Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority.