World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year globally, which is one person every 40 seconds.[1] As the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds, suicide has become a global crisis.[2]

In 2017, suicide rates in men were just over twice as high as for women at 13.9 per 100,000 compared to 6.3 deaths per 100,000.[3] However, women are also more likely than men to attempt suicide. In the U.S. for example, adult women reported a suicide attempt 1.2 times as often as men. [4]  But male suicide methods are often more violent, making them more likely to be completed before anyone can intervene.[4]

The COVID-19 pandemic has added intense emotional and mental stress to the lives of people around the world.[5] According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19 between June 24–30, 2020.[5] Further, younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.[5]

A paper by researchers at George Mason University, RTI International, Sheppard Pratt Health System and Harvard Medical School outlines policy options to mitigate the behavioral health consequences of rising unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper makes the case that accelerating access to and investment in suicide prevention and telehealth services, implementing insurance coverage protections, and supporting state government and providers with federal dollars are important steps to reducing harmful behavioral health outcomes that can accompany an economic downturn, including suicide.

Read the full report and article here.


Resources for suicide prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

WHO Suicide Prevention