With information from Alex Rodrigues, from Agência Brasil

Of the 183 member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO), only 38 researched by the body, including Brazil, have a national suicide prevention strategy. Although it represents an increase of almost 35% compared to the 28 countries that, already in 2014, had established public policies to deal with the issue, the result is still considered insufficient by WHO.

In the month of suicide prevention, the organization warns of the need for world leaders to establish national strategies, instituting preventive measures and clear guidelines to help the population deal with the issue, which is often covered by a cloud of prejudice and misunderstanding.

According to WHO, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds in the world. This number, as the report points out, does not faithfully represent the reality, since for every death properly recorded, there are many other attempts and deaths that are not counted as suicides.

According to the organization, only 80 of the 183 member countries of the organization have “good” information on the subject, which makes it difficult to develop an effective national strategy. Still according to WHO, 79% of all world cases are concentrated in low-income countries – although, for demographic reasons, the highest case rates per 100,000 population group have been recorded in developed and larger countries. purchasing power, says the organization.


Self-extermination is already the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds, second only to traffic accidents, according to WHO. Globally, if gender is analyzed, suicide is the second leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 (after maternity problems) and the third among boys of the same age group (outnumbered by traffic accidents and assaults). ).

After evaluating successful experiences in various nations, the report’s authors point out that the most effective ways to reduce suicides include measures to hinder access to some means of killing themselves; raising media awareness of the importance of addressing the issue in the right way; offering programs that teach young people how to deal with everyday frustrations and problems, and identifying people at risk, giving them all the support they need.

Among the measures, WHO highlights restrictions on free access to pesticides as the most effective, as the lethality of these products is very high. International data indicate that a ban on the most dangerous products for human health has contributed to lower suicide rates in several countries, such as Sri Lanka, where, according to WHO, a series of restrictive measures has reduced the rate of suicide by about 70%. suicide, helping save around 93,000 lives between 1995 and 2015. Another source of concern for experts around the world is access to firearms.


Although the link between suicide and mental disorders, particularly depression and alcohol use disorders, is well documented in high-income countries, many suicides occur impulsively during times of crisis that undermine the ability to cope with tensions. such as financial problems, breakdown or pain and chronic illness.

In addition, experiences related to conflict, disasters, violence, abuse, loss and feelings of isolation are closely linked to suicidal behavior. Suicide rates are also high among vulnerable groups subject to discrimination, such as refugees and migrants; indigenous communities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and prisoners.

Since 2006, when Ordinance No. 1,876 was published, Brazil has had guidelines for the prevention of suicide. The standard establishes that measures must be implemented in all units of the federation and include, among other actions, measures to promote quality of life, education, health protection and recovery, and to prevent damage. suicide cases, which are classified as “a serious public health problem that affects the whole of society and can be prevented”.

In the year of publication of the ordinance, the Ministry of Health pointed to the “observed increase in the frequency of suicidal behavior among young people between 15 and 25 years, of both sexes, diverse education and in all social strata”, as a reason for the adoption of national guidelines.