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Eur Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;25(5):252-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.01.011. Epub 2010 May 8.

Prevention of mental ill-health and suicide: public health perspectives.

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Child Psychiatric Epidemiology Group, Columbia University, NYS Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates for the year 2020, approximately 1.5 million people will commit suicide, and at least 10 times that many will make an attempt. This paper offers a brief overview of the current state of the epidemiology of suicide, a burgeoning public health problem. The information provided is based in large measure on reports of suicide mortality from 130/193 countries. In order to contextualize these data, this paper explores the contribution of both individual and sociocultural factors that influence suicidal behavior, from which much has been learned. Outlining the history of attempts by international and national organizations like WHO, United Nations, member states in the European community and other countries to regularize identification and suicide reporting procedures, this paper also demonstrates that serious knowledge gaps remain. Minimal requirements for successful evidence-based interventions are presented.

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