September 4, 2014 5:14 PM EDT

For the more than 800,000 people who take their lives each year around the world, pesticide poisoning is the most frequently used method, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

“Restricting access to the means of suicide is effective in preventing suicide – particularly impulsive suicide – as it gives those contemplating suicide more time to reconsider,” the report said.

Methods of suicide vary significantly from region to region, and pesticide poisoning is most common in rural regions where the chemicals are readily available. In the United States, easy access to guns helps make firearms the most common method.

The report argues that suicide is preventable and calls on communities to fight the stigma that surrounds mental health issues and to take action on the issue.

“Every suicide is a tragedy,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in the report. “The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after persons dear to them have taken their own lives.”

Write to Justin Worland at

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