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World Suicide Prevention Day - 10th September, 2003 Press Release

Suicide can be Prevented!

FIRST WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
Launch on 10th September 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden

The battle against one of the world's biggest killers is being stepped up with the launch of the first World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2003.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), has designated the day as a way of focusing attention on the problem world-wide.

Suicide is the thirteenth most common cause of death world-wide, the fourth most common among those aged 15-44 and the sixth most common cause of ill-health and disability, according to WHO figures.

Professor Diego De Leo, President of the IASP, said: 'In the year 2000 an estimated 815,000 people died from suicide around the world - one death every 40 seconds.'

'But suicide deaths are only part of the problem. Many more people make non-fatal attempts to take their lives or harm themselves.'

'And for every suicide death there are many survivors whose lives are profoundly affected emotionally, socially and economically. Each year the economic costs associated with self-inflicted injuries are estimated to be in the billions of dollars.'

Around the globe, national representatives of the IASP will be seeking to raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day focussing on the problem and the actions needed to tackle it.
The actions include:
· Improve treatment methods and facilities for those with psychiatric disorders.
· Increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour and of where people can get help.
· Encourage governments and their health care planning departments to raise the priority for the early identification and treatment of individuals suffering from mental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and dependence.
· Suggest restricting access to methods of suicide through areas as diverse as monitoring of prescriptions, stricter gun laws and vehicle exhaust pipe design.

(Insert name), the (insert country) representative of the IASP, said: ‘World Suicide Prevention Day aims to put the issue on the agenda globally and regionally, but it also seeks to show that action must be taken locally - and this action starts with you and me.
'The Day underlines the responsibility for all of us to help save lives that may be at stake. It is possible - we can do it.'