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In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death in people aged 20 - 64, despite a decline in suicide rates when compared with previous years. Suicide is when a person intentionally ends their own life. If a person tries to end their own life but fails, it is described as a suicide attempt. Globally, one person dies by suicide every 11 minutes, and more than twice this number attempt suicide.  

The highest risk…. 

Suicide is more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, making up almost 4 out of every 5 cases.  

Although people of all ages, genders, professions, and ethnicities commit suicide, individuals belonging to the LGBTQI+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex), migrants, refugees, and prisoners are more likely to turn to suicide. Construction workers, war veterans, doctors, police officers, media personalities, and dentists are more likely to commit suicide than other professionals.  

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People who have experienced bullying, social isolation, sexual abuse, domestic violence, neglect, have a higher risk for suicide.  

People living with a mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, substance abuse, and borderline personality disorder are also more vulnerable to suicide.  

What methods are commonly used? 

People typically turn to common, accessible items when planning to commit suicide. Examples include ropes, poison, pesticides, medication, guns (in certain parts of the world), and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide.  

The most widely used methods are: 

  • Ingestion of pesticides, which constitutes 20% of global suicide rates and occurs most frequently in low- and middle-income countries.  
  • Ingestion of poisons such as rat poison and cleaning agents 
  • Drug overdose 
  • Use of firearms 
  • Hanging 
  • Drowning 
  • Jumping from tremendous heights such as buildings and bridges 
  • Self-cutting 
  • Suffocation / Strangulation 

Can suicide be prevented? 

Suicides can be prevented if certain measures are put in place such as increasing awareness and education about mental health and initiating mental health and well-being initiatives in schools and workplaces.  


Suicide is a public health challenge that has far-reaching consequences. Often, the family and friends of the person sink into guilt, depression, and may blame themselves for the event. A suicide attempt may also leave the individual with long-term injuries or health consequences. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, remember that help is always available. Speak up and seek help from qualified mental health professionals. 

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