World Suicide Prevention Day: Opening the Discussion Suicide Prevention Day: Opening the Discussion

World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual awareness day dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of suicide, its prevention, and the support available to those in distress. For every 9 people per every 100,000, commit suicide. With 800,000 people dying of suicide per year, there is an immediate need for suicide prevention and proactive education. 

The challenging and almost deterring fact is that regardless of already-made progression and effort when it comes to suicide prevention, one person commits suicide somewhere in the world about once every 40 seconds. Suicide was the twelfth most common cause of death in the US in 2020 alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) observes World Suicide Prevention Day annually on September 10th to raise awareness about this preventable public health threat with the goal that fewer people will die from suicide — and those who have a concern about it will have access to help. 

Preventing suicide is everyone’s business. There are many things we can all do — no matter who we are or where we live — to help those in our lives who might be struggling with thoughts of suicide. It only takes a moment to learn how you can help someone in crisis and reduce their risk of dying by suicide. Let’s learn a bit more.

What Is World Suicide Prevention Day?

Suicide is a global public health crisis that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die by suicide, and millions more are left grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. 

The health sector is committed to preventing suicide by raising awareness, promoting knowledge, and reducing stigma. The WHO has designated September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) since 2003 as an answer to the need for active awareness. WSPD is an opportunity to promote public engagement and awareness about suicide prevention while opening a the discussion about it.. 

How to Help Someone at Risk of Suicide

If you think someone is at risk of suicide, you should do what you can to ensure that you are there for them and that you care. 60% of suicide victims suffered from serious depression so allowing yourself to act as a support system can help to combat this. Of course, if you aren’t sure if someone is actually planning to harm themselves but you have the suspicion, ask them. 

Being direct can save lives in some cases and it also shows the person that someone is paying attention to them and has their best interest in mind. Overall, you’re going to want to be there for the person struggling with these thoughts and this doesn’t only apply to physical encounters, it could also apply to simply talk on the phone.

Additionally, you can attempt to keep them safe whether that’s calling usable resources for them or staying with them until they can be alone. You will also want to connect that person to the right sources of assistance while still following up with them to reassure them of the concern you have for their general well-being. Following up will help to show the person that care and concern can be consistent as well.

How Does Suicide Affect the Senior Population?

Here’s the thing, for every youth that attempts suicide, 1 in 200 of them will succeed. For seniors, 1 in every 4 will succeed but seniors are less likely to recover from injuries associated with the attempt. If you’re a senior, this is useful information so that you can promote suicide prevention and awareness for not only seniors but for everyone.  

Men who are older than 65 account for the highest rate of suicide and while suicide can affect anyone, it’s important to shine a light on it among those that are older.

What Are Known Factors That May Contribute to Suicidal Thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts can be triggered by a host of factors – any sort of stressful event such as a significant relationship ending, a loss of a loved one, or even financial problems can be a contributing factor. Other times, underlying issues like mental health problems, substance abuse, or chronic physical health problems can lead to suicidal thoughts. There are also other factors to consider such as;

  • Effects of racism or discrimination
  • Different forms of abuse
  • Extended isolation or loneliness
  • Consistent feelings of failure
  • A variety of forms of trauma

Alongside these, you can see that there isn’t really one cause of suicide. Instead, the causes are specific to the individual and their personal circumstances, thoughts, and feelings making each incident different.

Help Is Available: Extend Support if You Can

The WHO leads by promoting the phrase, “Creating Hope Through Action”. Taking action, actively listening to others, being aware of warning signs, and extending support when it’s asked for and even when it’s not are all ways you can help to protect those that may be suffering from extreme life events or levels of depression that may be causing the thought of suicide to rise. The WHO created this special day as a means for us all to take action against this growing public health problem and it’s up to everyone to do their part, when and if they can, for who all they can. 

If you, a family member, friend, or someone you have come in contact with is thinking of suicide, know that you can always receive support, 24 hours a day, by texting or calling the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline; 988. 

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