Photo Credit: UNDP Azerbaijan

Baku, 26 November 2019 – The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of the Azerbaijan Republic will be working closely together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the preparation of the country’s first-ever National Action Plan on Suicide Prevention.

Deputy Minister Anar Karimov opened a workshop today bringing together national and international experts and stakeholders to discuss priorities and identify the next steps to be taken.

In his opening speech, Mr Karimov stressed the significance of this issue by pointing out that the number of suicides has risen by no less than 62% in the last 45 years.

Addressing the complex challenge of suicide prevention, Mr Karimov started by saying “There are as many ways to tackle this problem as there are causes.”

Among the approaches he highlighted, Mr Karimov particularly emphasised the value of having effective educational programmes for suicide prevention.

He further stressed the need to provide psychological support to those who have attempted suicide, as well as the need for psychiatric support for people experiencing mental health problems.

The Deputy Minister warned of the special sensitivity needed in media coverage of suicide and the negative consequences of irresponsible journalism.

Mr Karimov announced that a series of events aimed at the prevention of suicide will be conducted throughout the country at all levels - including for families, schools, local communities and the government.

“This workshop is an important first step in developing a National Action Plan on Suicide Prevention,” Mr Karimov concluded, “and I look forward to working jointly with UNDP on its preparation.”

UNDP Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti stated that “According to the WHO—the lead agency for health in the UN system, every year, close to 800,000 people take their own life. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire societies, with long-lasting effects on the people left behind”.

Mr Fracassetti stressed that “Suicide is preventable. With timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. Suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of

society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media”.

The workshop was attended by Mr. Alfred Skogberg, international journalist and founder of Suicide Talks, Professor Michele Moore, the Director of Inclusion Childhood and Education, and several representatives of UN agencies, international and national partners and the private sector.

The participants will spend the next two days discussing about new measures and activities such as helplines, youth advocacy, programs targeting vulnerable groups and community development programs – that could help reduce the number of suicides in the country and pave the way for the development of a national plan on suicide prevention.

Media contact:

For media inquiries, please contact Dilara Umudova, Communications Officer for UNDP in Azerbaijan at dilara.umudova@undp.org.

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