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World Suicide Prevention Day

Worldwide, approximately one million die by suicide (30,000 in the US) each year. And for every committed suicide there are at least 20 suicide attempts: It is estimated that there is one attempt made every minute. In response to this worldwide crisis, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has declared September 10, 2006, World Suicide Prevention Day.

"For every suicide death there are scores of family and friends whose lives are devastated emotionally, socially and economically," says Dr. Catherine Le Gales-Camus, WHO Assistant--Director General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. "Suicide is a tragic global public health problem. Worldwide, more people die from suicide than from all homicides and wars combined. There is an urgent need for coordinated and intensified global action to prevent this needless toll."

The causes of suicide are complex. Most suicides occur in people who are experiencing emotional difficulties--mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, social isolation, personal loss, difficulties in relationships and workplace issues. And although they mostly occur without warning, to prevent a suicide you have to learn to recognize the signs of someone at risk.

Risk Factors for Suicide
  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Speaking and/or moving with unusual speed or slowness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Decrease in sexual drive
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate slowed thinking or indecisiveness
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead
In an acute crisis it is best not to leave a friend or loved one alone, go to the nearest emergency room or clinic. If the above options are unavailable, call your local emergency number or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis.

Join Healthline to learn more about suicide and suicidal behavior to learn how you can help recognize someone at risk.
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