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Alarming Million Suicides Every Year, Late Teen Deaths More

Update Date: Sep 08, 2012 09:09 AM EDT

In a rather disturbing report, World Health Organization statistics have revealed that around one million people around the world kill themselves every year. 

Calling for immediate action into the problem, the WHO said Friday that the number of suicides every year accounts for more deaths than wars and murders put together. 

"Data from the WHO indicate that approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds," the organization said in a report launched ahead of the World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, according to Medical Xpress. 

What is even more alarming is that the staggering number of deaths from suicides is apparently just 1/20th of the actual number of attempts, WHO revealed. It means that about five percent of people in the world attempt suicide at least in their lifetime. While, men committed suicide more, the attempt to commit suicide was three times more among women, the report said.

"As suicide is largely preventable, it is imperative that governments, through their health, social and other relevant sectors, invest human and financial resources in suicide prevention," the report said. 

In some countries, there has been a steep rise in the suicide rates in the recent years, pointed out Dr. Shekhar Saxena, who headed the team behind the report. He said that some countries have in fact seen a rise of up to 60 percent. 

"Although suicide continues to remain a serious problem in high income countries, it is the low and middle income countries that bear the larger part of the global suicide burden," the report said.

"It is also these countries that are relatively less equipped to prevent suicide". 

Countries like Lithuania and Russia lead for the highest rate of suicide, followed by USA, Western Europe and parts of Asia, while the lowest numbers of documented cases are identified to be in Latin America, according to WHO.  Statistics are not available for many countries in Africa and South-East Asia, the report said.

According to the study, worldwide, suicide contributes as the second cause of death among children in their late teens. 

Apparently, among adults, suicide rate is the highest among people aged 75 and above.

"Elderly people are likely to have higher suicide intent and use more lethal methods than younger people, and they are less likely to survive the physical consequences of an attempt," WHO said. 

"The disparity in suicide rates has been partly explained by the use of more lethal means and the experience of more aggression and higher intent to die, when suicidal, in men than women," the report explained.

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