IN the past decade, suicide has gained prominence as a global problem of epidemic proportion. Studies summarised in the World Suicide Report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2014 indicate that each year over 800,000 people lose their lives to suicide. To put this in perspective, this is more than the total deaths resulting from other violent acts such as homicide, war and terrorism combined.
To emphasise the dire need to address this critical public health issue, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated Sept 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day. This annual event, which has run since 2003, is intended to generate publicity and serve as a reminder to governments and public health institutions worldwide of the tremendous social impact of suicide. This year’s theme is “Take a Minute, Change a Life”.