The rate at which people are committing suicides have fallen globally by more than a third since 1990.

This is according to a far-reaching analysis released Thursday that highlighted profound differences in the number of men and women taking their own lives.

The World Health Organization lists suicide as a critical public health issue and estimates at least 800,000 people kill themselves every year.

Although reporting of deaths from self-harm varies between nations, data models devised by the team behind the Global Burden of Disease -- which tracks all known causes of death by country -- show a clear downward trend in global suicide rates.

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In results published in the BMJ journal, the study estimated that 817,000 people killed themselves in 2016 -- a slight increase of 6.7% since 1990.

However, as the global population has boomed over the last three decades, the team found that the rate of suicide adjusted for age and population size fell from 16.6 to 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people -- a plunge of 32.7%.

"Suicide is considered a preventable cause of death and this study shows that we should continue in our efforts towards suicide prevention," said Heather Orpana, research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada and a collaborator on the study.

"With further efforts we could take further reductions in suicide mortality."

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