Suicide Decriminalisation

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Suicide Decriminalisation

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In recent years many countries have made progress in their efforts to reduce the rate of death by suicide. But suicide still remains a criminal offence in 20 countries, with some laws dating as far back as 160 years ago.

The criminalisation of suicide is counter productive. It does not deter people from taking their lives, but it does deter them from seeking help in a moment of acute crisis and potentially placing them in facilities where they may not receive the support they need.

In the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, we're launching our latest report, Decriminalising Suicide: Saving Lives, Reducing Stigma, examining the civil laws which criminalise suicide and the implications they have around the world. 


Our report:

- Surveys the legal structures in countries where suicide is a criminal offence 

- Explains what the repercussions are for someone who attempts suicide, and their friends and family

- Explores what the law says in each country and whether there are efforts to reform it

We hope that the publication of this report will help those campaigning for decriminalisation of suicide make progress and ensure that everyone, everywhere, who needs support for their mental health before, during and after a suicidal crisis can access it, free of stigma and discrimination.


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In 20 countries

suicide remains a criminal offence.

Over 79% 

of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Legislation is 160 years old

in certain countries.

Over 1 in every 100 deaths

was a result of suicide in 2019.

What next?

Right now, there is a historic opportunity to press for reform with the world agreeing to reduce suicide through the Sustainable Development Goals, and governments committing to decriminalising suicide through endorsement of the WHO Global Mental Health Action Plan 2020 2030.

Achieving the decriminalisation of suicide will be a major step forward that will help ensure that everyone, everywhere who needs support for their mental health can access it, free of stigma and discrimination.