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The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report detailing the rising epidemic of suicide around the world.
According to the report, 16 of every 100,000 people will die by their own hands this year. The most common age group are ages 15 through 44, and suicide rates in that group have gone up 60 percent in 45 years, despite our having a far better understanding of the issues that often surround suicide.
The WHO report also lists major risk factors for suicide, which include alcoholism, depression and impulsiveness. In North America and Europe, the first two are on the rise while in Asia, the latter is often cited.
Suicide rates among service men and women as well as military veterans in the U.S. and Canada have skyrocketed in recent years as well. Meanwhile, services for those at risk of suicide have stagnated in most parts of the world, and suicide is often treated as a stigma, with little prevention occurring even in those places most affected by it.
WHO says that the answer is to talk about suicide in places other than mental health clinics and doctor's offices. Suicide should become a topic of conversation in education, the justice system, religious establishments, politics and the media.
Raising public awareness, talking about suicide seriously in the media, and raising education levels about the problem and its often simple cures (usually just talking is enough to thwart an attempt) are all things that need to happen if suicide is to be put on a reverse course.
Suicide prevention must become a priority if we wish to reverse the trend of death. This will not happen until stigmas begin to fade and it becomes a problem everyone is willing to address.
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