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Restrictions on Common Suicide Means may Reduce Rates

Restrictions on Common Suicide Means may Reduce Rates

(epharmanews)- Contrary to the common idea that a suicidal person would resort to any means available to help them out of their misery, new findings suggest that restrictions on common suicide means (such as guns, knives, ropes, pesticides) can significantly reduce suicide rates.

In an article, published in The Lancet as a part of a series of articles about suicide, Professor Paul Yip of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Hong Kong, China, and colleagues review the evidence for means restriction in preventing suicides. Despite the fact that some suicide methods are difficult to restrict, the researchers highlight the fact that means restriction remains one of the most effective ways to reduce suicide rates.

Examples of successful restrictions include ban on lethal pesticides in the mid-1990s in Sri Lanka, which resulted in a significant fifty percent drop in suicide rates between 1995 and 2005. However, such restrictions may also be inconvenient to non-suicidal individuals who may need to use the restricted material.

Professor Yip states that: “The common perception is that if somebody wishes to die by suicide, they will do so by whichever means are available to them.  However, contrary to these widely-held beliefs, there is a growing body of research to suggest that restricting access to the most lethal means of suicide has a significant effect in reducing suicide rates.”

“Appropriate media coverage and community endorsement could lead to a greater acceptance of means restriction.  Even for suicide methods that aren’t easily restrictable, concerted community action in this area can be important in raising awareness of the problem.” He added.

Worldwide, suicide is the number one cause of death between adolescent females, and number two (after accidents) in adolescent males. Common suicide methods and means vary from a country to another. Earlier article has found that poison (mostly pesticides) was used in nearly half of the suicide cases in India. On the other hand, surveys found that guns were used in nearly 60% of suicide cases in the Unites States.

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Prepared by: Basel AlJunaidy

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