Deaths preventable, says WHO

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 October, 2004, 12:00am

Suicide 'is a huge but largely preventable' public health problem, causing almost half of all violent deaths and resulting in almost 1 million deaths a year, as well as economic costs in the billions of dollars, according to the World Health Organisation.

The United Nations body said having access to the means of suicide was a determinant in suicide.

The most common methods are pesticides, firearms and medication, such as painkillers, which can be toxic in large amounts.

The WHO said one breakthrough was the move by pharmaceutical companies to market painkillers in blister packs.