World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), runs on the 10 September and is set by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). where the World Health Organisation also sponsor the day. The theme for 2019 is called Working Together to Prevent Suicide.
The WHO and IASP also work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized.
However one of their main aims is to raise awareness of the risks of suicide and to fund suicide prevention schemes.
I took some time to look at some stats on suicide and was amazed to know that a person dies every 40 seconds by suicide and up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. Suicide is also among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. The WHO refers the widest number of suicides occur in the age group 15 – 29.
If you would like to check out my awareness video on world suicide prevention day, please play the video below.
Who are the UK organisations?
Since world Suicide prevention day is a global movement, what is happening in the UK?
There are many in the UK helping to battle against suicide and raise awareness. From Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, Network Rail, NHS England, Probation Service, Samaritans, Heads Together, Grassroots suicide prevention, Healthwatch, Mates in Mind and PAPYRUS (helping young people against suicide) Plus many more.
For the UK there is the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) is a cross-sector, England-wide coalition working reduce suicide in England. You can even sign up to be a member, its free.
Some Facts about suicide
The main suicide triggers are poverty, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, arguments and legal or work-related problems. Plus triggers can form from difficulties with developing one’s identity especially Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them.
We also have isolation from the community, bullying and racism in society with far too few trying to tackle the causes leading to a spike in suicide levels. We also have relationship breakdown and divorce as a leading cause especially in older adults who find there is lack of support after a relationship has finished.
Talking about community basically suicide is a community issue and is everyone’s business. No one should suffer alone and together people can fight suicide and reach out to others when they are in need. Everyone has something to contribute no matter how large or small.
With mental health, those suffering depression are at high risk of suicidal behaviours, but at the same time how can someone with depression know they are at risk?
My thoughts on suicide prevention
From Sociologists, health professionals and Economists to researchers they all have a large part to play in understanding suicide as social pressures place a lot of strain on people to trigger suicide.
We all have a part to play in tackling suicide. Unfortunately suicide is still a taboo subject and can be rather complex in the community. You just cannot look into someone’s mind and have an idea that they are at risk, people need to listen, but those at risk need to need to talk (although be choosy on who you talk to).
As a male, I am certainly aware and have experienced situations on why men are more likely to take their life. I feel some men are very competitive and often see opportunities to get the better of everyone. There is no problem with competition, but it can be an issue if someone feels opening up is weak or bringing others down is strong. As with women, they are often more likely to talk about their situation, while men might just deal with it until it might reach breaking point.
Families and carers
Families and carers can be just at risk, especially after a loved one has taken their life. People who have been bereaved by suicide can be at greater risk of taking their own lives. It is important to try talk to someone, especially someone close who will take the time to listen to you. There is always hope, even if the mind is in a place where it feels no one is listening.
Certainly seek out support and awareness groups. There is a site called Support after suicide which is at https://supportaftersuicide.org.uk
How can you help?
On World Suicide Prevention I am involved as a carer member on a suicide prevention steering group at my local mental health trust. We are launching our Suicide prevention strategy soon and there will be an exciting conference on the day.
Even though my background is more on family and carer engagement, there is always room to learn and connect with those who have been affected by suicide.
If you are also thinking about being involved, here are some suggestions I could offer.
- Blog, write and learn about suicide prevention..
- Help reduce stigma on mental health and the after affects of suicide.
- Try educate yourself about suicide prevention since a number of local events will be on during the day.
- Be kind.
- If suffering from suicidal thoughts, seek help.
Other places to seek help
Samaritans: 116 123 (free, for everyone, 24/7)
CALM: 0800 585858 (free, for men, 5pm-midnight)
PAPYRUS: 0800 968 4141