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Globally, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death of all age groups and specifically for 15-24 year olds. For every suicide, there are many more who attempt it. Every year, more people die as a result of suicide than HIV, malaria or breast cancer, or war and homicide. One in every 100 deaths is a suicide which prompted WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care. Globally, the suicide rate is decreasing (17%-47%), but in the America’s it is going up (17%). Many countries have placed suicide prevention high on their agendas and have developed national suicide prevention strategies, but too many countries still remain uncommitted. Two of the four main guidelines for implementing an effective suicide prevention program is to (1) foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents and (2) the early identification, management and follow up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behavior. Preventing suicide for young people (and beyond) is a top priority for us! The education environment is critical in shifting to end suicide and thoughts of suicide (lack of self-worth) so children and young people grow up mentally and physically healthy and have a full chance of reaching their potential. 1
Globally, violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15–44 years worldwide, accounting for 14% of deaths among males and 7% of deaths among females. For every person who dies as a result of violence, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems. Moreover, violence places a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions of US dollars each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity. Violence includes the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. Violence must be addressed on multiple levels and in multiple sectors of society simultaneously. About half of 13-15 year olds worldwide (150 million) have experienced violence such as physical fights or forms of bullying from their peers in and around school. 2 The education environment is critical in addressing individual risk factors and taking steps to encourage healthy attitudes and behavior in young people. By setting up new-paradigm healthy and empowering learning environments that emphasize their strengths, talents and purpose, young people who grow into adults will have no need to hurt others or themselves. 3
Globally, 7 of the 10 leading causes of deaths are chronic diseases, -heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, Alzheimer’s/dementia, asthma, diabetes, and kidney disease. Together, they accounted for 74% of the 55,625,000 total global deaths in 2019. Of this number, 2.2 million deaths were young people ages 5-24 (38,000 North America; 40,000 Europe), 43% being adolescents. In 2015, the World Health Organization agreed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global call-to-action to guarantee that all people enjoy health, peace and prosperity. Goal #4 is to by 2030, reduce by one third, premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (chronic disease) through prevention and treatment and the promotion of mental health and well-being. As of 2021, the health goals are not proceeding in the positive direction they had hoped. Preventing chronic disease through the promotion of well-being is a top priority for us! The education environment is critical in shifting this epidemic to end preventable deaths so children and young people grow up mentally and physically healthy and have a full chance of reaching their potential. 4
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