First WHO report on suicide prevention

Anyone else read it? I loathe the World Health Organisation as much as I loathe the United Nations and the World Bank, by the way. I am riddled with bitter third world bias. Also, this.

It’s an insubstantial report that could have been written by anyone with internet access, but no doubt cost a fortune and wasted fuckloads of time. In amongst the stats and blather, there are a few points that relate to WHO’s global edict that all countries must have a suicide prevention plan.

Here we go.

Suicides are preventable

Apart from denying the right to die, which is a whole other argument, that’s one hell of an ambitious and sweeping statement, isn’t it? But that’s the party line and a quick google shows that that’s what society wants to believe.

Reducing access to means of suicide is one way to reduce deaths.

Would they like to simply incapacitate anyone who admits or is found to be suicidal, or lower all heights, blunt all sharps etc? Of course, the most successful suicide method tends to be firearms, perhaps they’ll disarm the planet and sing Kumbaya instead.

Other effective measures include responsible reporting of suicide in the media, such as avoiding language that sensationalizes suicide and avoiding explicit description of methods used, and early identification and management of mental and substance use disorders in communities and by health workers in particular.

Not quite sure why media, mental disorders and addiction landed up in the same sentence; that’s sloppy writing and editing right there. In terms of media, google sensationalization of suicide to get some idea of the work already being done in that field. The aim is to reduce the Werther Effect (copycat suicides). As for the mental and addiction disorders stuff – yes please. Nothing wrong with that paragraph’s suggestions, or the next one either.

Follow-up care by health workers through regular contact, including by phone or home visits, for people who have attempted suicide, together with provision of community support, are essential, because people who have already attempted suicide are at the greatest risk of trying again.

Sigh. The next reports ought to be interesting. So far so utopian – and this in a climate of global recession.

WHO recommends countries involve a range of government departments in developing a comprehensive coordinated response. High-level commitment is needed not just within the health sector, but also within education, employment, social welfare and judicial departments.

It would be great to think that ideals and plans like these could work. What do you guys think? I can’t help thinking same old paper trail. It’s a lazy report.

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