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J Natl Med Assoc. 2011 Jul;103(7):614-7.

Suicide: current trends.

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Department of Psychiatry, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Suicide is the act of a human being intentionally causing his or her own death. More than 1 million people commit suicide every year. It is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide, with China, India, and Japan accounting for almost half of all suicides. In less than 50 years, the rate of suicide among Sri Lankans has risen from a modest level to one of the highest in the world (118 per 100,000). Suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death. It is influenced by psychosocial, cultural, and environmental risk factors. The impact of suicide can be devastating for all concerned. It is common in people who are living with chronic mental illness. Individuals with severe clinical depression and alcohol use disorders are at highest risk if untreated. On an interpersonal level, friends and families of suicide victims require social support. On a national level, governments need to recognize the causes of suicide and protect those most vulnerable. If governments commit to defining national responses to prevent suicide, significant progress can be made. On a global scale, research and health organizations can identify global trends and encourage the sharing of information in effective prevention activities. In September 2010, World Suicide Prevention Day, with a theme of "Many faces, many places: suicide prevention across the world," encouraged public awareness worldwide to unite in commitment and action to promote understanding about suicide and removal of stigmatization'. There is compelling evidence that adequate prevention and awareness can reduce suicide rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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