Health Calendar

What is 'World Suicide Prevention Day' & why do we celebrate it? read

Feb 15 2021


World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed on 10th September every year. It is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). It is being observed since 2003 to raise awareness on suicide prevention.

Suicide is the result of a convergence of risk factors including but not limited to genetics, psychology, society, and culture, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss as well.

Suicide Statistics

  • Suicide accounts for 1.4% of all deaths in the world
  • Globally, it is the 15th leading cause of death
  • In 2012, 76% of global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries; 39% of which occurred in South-East Asia
  • Suicide is currently criminalized in 25 countries
  • In 20 countries, suicide attempters are punishable with jail, according to Sharia law
  • Global suicide rate is 11.4/100,000 population - 15/100,000 for males and 8/100,000 for females
  • Self-harm is largely seen among older adolescents
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for older adolescent girls
  • The most common methods of suicide include pesticide ingestion, hanging, and use of firearms
  • Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in suicide deaths
  • For one suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt
  • More people die from suicide than from murder or war
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 to 24
  • An estimated ten lakh people die by suicide per year, which is about one person in a 10,000 population. This translates to a death every 40 seconds or about 3000 deaths every day.



Relatives and close friends of people who die by suicide are a high-risk group for suicide. This can be because of the psychological trauma of suicide loss, potential shared familial and environmental risk, suicide contagion by social modelling, or the burden of the stigma associated with the loss. Suicide can be prevented through worldwide responses that address the main risk factors. Also, strong evidence indicates that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.

Effective suicide prevention strategies include the following:

  • Incorporating public health policy strategies
  • Incorporating mental health care strategies
  • Incorporating measure with the strongest evidence of efficacy like the restriction of access to lethal means, ensuring chain of care, depression treatment, and school-based universal prevention

According to WHO's Mental Health Atlas released in 2014, no low-income country reported having a national suicide prevention strategy, and less than 10% of lower-middle-income countries had such a strategy in place.

WSPD Objective

World Suicide Prevention Day aims to do the following:

  • Improve education about suicide
  • Spread information about suicide awareness
  • Raise awareness that suicide is preventable
  • Decrease stigmatization associated with suicide

WHO and IASP work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized, or penalized.

WHO's role is to build political action and leadership is to develop national responses and prevent suicide, strengthen national planning capacity to establish the core building blocks, and build national capacities for implementing these responses.

On its first event in 2003, the World Health Organization introduced the main strategy for implementation of World Suicide Prevention Day as follows:

  • The organization of global, regional, and national multi-sectoral activities to increase awareness about suicidal behaviours and how to prevent them effectively
  • The strengthening of countries' capabilities to develop and evaluate national policies and plans for suicide prevention

2020 Theme

Theme for WSPD 2020 is same as last two years’—Working Together to Prevent Suicide. The theme highlights an essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention—collaboration. Each of us can contribute to suicide prevention just by being compassionate and reaching out to others.



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