Press Release

World Suicide Prevention Day: Creating Hope Through Action

10 September 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), observed worldwide on 10 September under the theme “Creating Hope Through Action”, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the problem of suicides in Ukraine and around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.

According to WHO estimates:

  • One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them.
  • Every 40 seconds someone takes their life; that’s almost 800,000 people a year around the world, with over 75% of suicides occurring in low-and-middle-income countries.
  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.

In the WHO European Region, men are at least 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women. In Ukraine this difference is even bigger - men are almost 7 times more likely to die by suicide.

“Suicide is one of the priority conditions in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) launched in Ukraine in 2019 on request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The initiative provides family doctors and nurses with the skills to identify and provide basic management of common mental health conditions, including depression, substance use and self-harm/suicide, linking this work with specialist care when required," said Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine.

WHO supports Ukraine in improving mental health of individuals and society at large, helping promote the mental well-being, prevent the mental disorders, and increase access to quality mental health care services.

“As a part of mhGAP programme, WHO and partners have trained more than 500 primary healthcare workers across the country to early identify and prevent suicides and bring quality mental health care closer to people”, said Dr Alisa Ladyk-Bryzghalova, Officer on Mental Health in the WHO Country Office in Ukraine.

Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, with the LIVE LIFE approach, WHO aims to prevent suicides and recommends the following key effective evidence-based interventions:

  • Limit access to the means of suicide (e.g. Pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
  • Interact with the media for responsible reporting of suicide;
  • Foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents;
  • Early identify, assess, manage and follow up anyone who is affected by suicidal behaviours.

Background information:

Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) is a programme, aimed at scaling up care for mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) conditions.

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Iryna Tarnavska

Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

World Health Organization

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