L'oeil de la Genève Internationale
October 2016

In the run-up to World Health Day on 7 April 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a one-year campaign, starting today 10 October, on the theme of depression. Through the campaign, WHO, together with partners, will provide substantial information about this illness, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and what help is or can be available for prevention and treatment. The overall goal of the initiative is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.

According to the WHO, every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. It's report "Preventing suicide: a global imperative" points out that “in richer countries, three times as many men die of suicide than women do, but in low - and middle-income countries the male-to-female ratio is much lower at 1.5 men to each woman”(…) “With regard to age, suicide rates are highest in persons aged 70 years or over for both men and women in almost all regions of the world. In some countries, suicide rates are highest among the young, and globally suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. Yet, suicides are preventable”.

“The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after persons dear to them have taken their own lives. Unfortunately, suicide all too often fails to be prioritized as a major public health problem. Despite an increase in research and knowledge about suicide and its prevention, the taboo and stigma surrounding suicide persist and often people do not seek help or are left alone” wrote Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO in the foreword to the aforementioned WHO report.

In the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, WHO Member States have committed themselves to working towards the global target of reducing the suicide rate in countries by 10% by 2020.

On 31st January 2007, after a long period of depression and at the age of 72, André Penteado’s father, José Octavio, took his own life. This tragic event was the starting point for two projects developed by the photographer in the following years. “Dad’s Suicide” explores Penteado’s immediate response to his loss. It includes a series of 52 self-portraits in which he wears all the clothes his father left. The second project called “I Am Not Alone” is the result of a shared experience with people he met in a support group for those who lost a loved one to suicide. "Dad's Suicide" the book.