Marriage and a strong religious faith appear to protect against suicide. Single men and women, whether they have never married, or are divorced or widowed, are much more likely to commit suicide. Contributing factors such as pure loneliness and the financial and social disadvantages of living alone are important but statistics show there are even physical health disadvantages of living alone, with an increasing incidence of acute and chronic disease in single people, affecting the likelihood of suicide.
There are many facets to faith that reduce the risk of suicide, including the fact that suicide isn’t acceptable to many faiths, and that people with strong religious beliefs tend to have more supportive social networks.
The World Health Organization has recommended six broad approaches to prevention:
- Effective treatment of those with mental disorders
- Control of gun possession
- Detoxification of domestic gas
- Detoxification of car emissions
- Control of availability of toxic substances
- Toning down reports in the media
The International Association for Suicide Prevention provides good general background information about suicide and how it can be prevented.