Prevention of Suicide

Annually, more than 800,000 people worldwide are removed the life and many others try to do so. Suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and countries, and has long-lasting effects for the relatives of suicide. In 2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the age group of 15-29 years around the world. However, we can say that in Puerto Rico according to Department of health statistics, cases of suicide from 2009 to 2014 have decreased considerably. Even so, it is important to work with our population because suicide is a serious public health problem; but it can be prevented.

Most of the time it has linked suicide with mental disorders (depression and alcohol use-related disorders in particular) but has also been documented that many suicides occur impulsively at times of crisis that undermines the capacity to deal with the pressures of life, such as financial problems, relationship ruptures or headaches and chronic diseases.

Moreover, experiences related to conflicts, disasters, violence, abuse, loss and sense of isolation are closely linked to conduct suicide. Suicide rates are also high among vulnerable groups subject to discrimination, for example, refugees and migrants; the indigenous communities; people lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex; and the inmates. The main risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

Suicides are preventable. There are some measures that can be adopted among the population, population groups and individuals to prevent suicide and attempts to commit. These measures include:

  • restricting access to the means of suicide (e.g., firearms and certain medications)
  • responsible for information from the media
  • introduction of policies aimed at reducing the harmful use of alcohol
  • early identification, treatment and care of people with problems of mental health and substance abuse, chronic pain and acute emotional disorder

Suicide is a complex problem and consequently, prevention activities require coordination and collaboration of multiple sectors of society, including health, education, labour, agriculture, trade, justice, right, defense, politics and media.


Information obtained from the World Health Organization’s and the Department of Health of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.