Let's help reduce the pain
THE statistics for suicide are a cause for great concern. The World Health Organisation calculates that every year some one million people worldwide die by suicide, corresponding to one death every 40 seconds.
This is more than the annual loss through murder and war combined. Yet, the situation could be far worse as up to 20 times this number of people fail in their attempt at suicide. It is calculated that five per cent of people attempt suicide at least once.
Often hidden by other events (such as road traffic accidents and cases of drowning), suicide is the leading cause of death among young people (100,000 adolescents per year).
Those overwhelmed by stressful life events and emotional distress, in chronic pain, or suffering from a psychiatric disorder, alcoholism or drug addiction, are most at risk. Overall, more men die by suicide, while more women attempt suicide. In terms of age, the suicide rate is high among middle-aged men and highest in people over 75 years.
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The costs to society from suicide are enormous, estimated to be equivalent to billions of US dollars per year. The psychological and social impact on families and communities is even greater. Yet, despite its frequency, suicide is often under-reported for fear of family stigma, religious concerns and negative social attitudes.
The good news is that suicide can be prevented. It was with this simple fact in mind that September 10 marked the 10th anniversary of the World Suicide Prevention Day.
And there are various readily accessible support groups outside of the normal health services.
For example, Samaritans, provides a 24-hour support line on 08457 90 90 90 (www.samaritans.org). There is also Nightline; a student-focused support line, whose local number is 01482 466272 (www.nightline.ac.uk).
Life was never promised to us as something that is easy, but working together, society can reduce the pain.