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Gov't hosts event for suicide prevention

The China Post--In a survey conducted by the Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center (TSPC) under the Department of Health, the number of unemployed people below 40 years old who have suicidal thoughts is 3.77 times more than those who are employed, while the number rises to 6.13 times more for those over 40 years old. As the World Health Organization marks every Sept. 10 as the “World Suicide Prevention Day,” Taiwan hosted the event, “Begin with Love, Live in Hope,” yesterday in support of the day.

Lee Ming-been (李明濱), director of the TSPC, noted that 6.9 percent of those surveyed were suffering from depression, including 14 percent who were unemployed — 8 percent of whom are classed as blue-collar citizens. Among those with depression symptoms, 21.8 percent have consulted medical professionals.

Lee stressed that suicide is a worldwide issue that should not be taken lightly. Roughly 1 million individuals in the world choose to end their own lives every year, with 1 person committing suicide every 40 seconds. In 2011, 3,057 people in Taiwan took their own lives.

In a response to the WHO's theme for this year's suicide prevention event — Strengthening Protective Factors And Instilling Hope — Taiwan also hosted “Begin with Love, Live in Hope” in an effort to raise suicide prevention awareness among participants. With a three-step prevention mechanism — first ask, then respond, then refer — TSPC advocates that preventing suicide is possible and is everyone's duty.

Vice President Wu Den-yi (吳敦義) attended the event yesterday, showing gratitude to the TSPC for their efforts in preventing suicides. Wu also urged the people and government to collaborate in building a support network for those with suicidal tendencies.

According to another survey, people's knowledge of the frequency of suicide has been rising, with 55.8 percent willing to participate in suicide prevention charity activities, and 50.1 percent having heard or seen information on suicide.

The TSPC was established in 2005 after suicide was listed among the top 10 causes of death for 13 consecutive years. After seven years of anti-suicide efforts, the death toll from suicide has been on the decline, as well as dropping out of the top 10 causes of death list in 2010. Nevertheless, Lee stated that suicide prevention is a continuing task and should be treated seriously.

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