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1 in 100 global deaths is by suicide, WHO says

World Health Organization Logo
Posted at 1:54 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 13:57:50-04

TAMPA, Fla. — One in one hundred deaths. That sobering number is the number of suicides around the globe each year, the World Health Organization reported Thursday.

According to the WHO numbers, in 2019, more than 700,000 people died by suicide. Among people aged 15-29, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death around the world. It’s also much more prevalent among men (12.6 per 100,000 males compared to 5.4 per 100,000 females).

While the numbers are eye-grabbing, in much of the world the suicide rate has fallen. The WHO said globally, suicides had fallen by 36 percent since 2000. However, the WHO said in the Americas region, suicide rates have increased by 17 percent from 2000 to 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released new numbers Thursday that showed the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits among kids aged 12-17 increased 31 percent in 2020. Last year, the CDC said suspected suicide attempt ER visits were 50.6% higher among girls 12-17 than during the same period in 2019; among boys, 12-17, suspected
suicide attempt ER visits increased by 3.7%.

The WHO said it was releasing strategies to help improve the numbers that include four strategies:

  • limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms;
  • educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide;
  • fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and
  • early identification, assessment, management, and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Click here for more information about the WHO’s suicide prevention work. If you are in distress, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The line is staffed 24/7 and ready to help you.