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Nation plans suicide prevention initiatives
( 2003-11-21 10:17) (Xinhua)

One person commits suicide every two minutes in China, with about 280,000 people taking their lives each year.

The figures have prompted the Chinese Government to speed up drafting a national plan on suicide prevention.

The government regards suicide as a key mental health problem which must be tackled urgently.

The plan would help combine the efforts of all social sectors to help reduce suicide, said Qi Xiaoqiu, director of the disease control department with the Ministry of Health. He was speaking Wednesday at an international workshop convened to discuss the problem.

Chinese and foreign participants who attended the workshop discussed the framework of the proposed national prevention plan.

China, with 20 percent of the world¡¯s total population, has one quarter of the world¡¯s total suicides. Suicide has become the number one cause of death in the population aged from 15 to 34.

However, unlike other countries, China¡¯s suicide rate among the rural population is much higher than the urban population. Almost 58 percent of all suicide victims killed themselves with pesticide, freely available in the countryside.

Another unusual aspect was that China is one of few countries which has a higher suicide rate for women than men.

Wu Xuehua, a senior staff member of the All-China Women¡¯s Federation, said that more than 150,000 women died by suicide each year and 1.5 million women attempted suicide.

Experts said it would take at least two years to formally launch the national plan.

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