The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for more effective prevention of injury and violence-related deaths including suicide, which constituted 8% of all deaths in 2019.
In the newly released report, Preventing injuries and violence: an overview, WHO highlights that injuries and violence are not distributed evenly across countries, with some population groups being more vulnerable to injury risk.
Of the 4.4 million injury-related deaths in 2019:
- Unintentional injuries took the lives of 3.16 million people
- Violence-related injuries killed 1.25 million people
- Approximately 1 in 6 of these deaths were attributable to suicide
- 1 in 9 from homicide and 1 in 61 from war and conflict
- 1 in 3 of these deaths resulted from road traffic crashes
- 1 in 61 of these deaths resulted from war and conflict.
The report states five key risk factors and determinants including childhood experiences, early detection and treatment of mental health disorders, inadequate management of suicide risk, lack of training for healthcare workers in suicide prevention and postvention, and problematic reporting from media.
Some of the proven prevention measures by cause of injury specifically related to suicide that were listed include:
- Restricting access to means of suicide, such as firearms, pesticides and certain medications
- Implementing policies and interventions to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
- Ensuring early detection and effective treatment of mental disorders
- Ensuring management of people who have attempted suicide or are at risk, including assessment and follow-up
- Training primary health care workers and gatekeepers who are likely to interact with people at risk of suicide
- Adopting responsible reporting of suicide by the media.