Since 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) has indeed been observed on September 10th in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities taking place across the world.
World Suicide Prevention Day is initiated by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH).
History of Suicide Prevention Day
Every 40 seconds, a death occurs, for a total of approximately 3,000 deaths per day. Suicide deaths are expected to reach 1.5 million per year by 2020, up from 500,000 in 2004. Suicide attempts, on the other hand, are 2-3 times higher in women than in men, though the gender gap has narrowed in recent years.
According to WHO, twenty people attempt suicide for every one that is fatal, at a rate of approximately one every three seconds. Suicide is the final option “For people aged 15 to 24, the most common cause of death is suicide.
“More people commit suicide than die in wars, terrorist attacks, and interpersonal violence combined.”
IASP President Brian Mishara
Social norms have a profound impact on the performance of suicidal behavior. Sociological studies in the late nineteenth century recorded the first ever observations on suicide: using statistics from the time, sociologists mentioned the effects of industrialization as in relationships between new urbanized communities and vulnerability to self-destructive behavior, implying social pressures have an effect on suicide. Today, there can be significant differences in suicidal behavior between countries.
Every year on this day for the past 18 years, a theme has been released to raise awareness about preventing suicide attempts. Following are the themes released in these past 18 years.
2003 – “Suicide Can Be Prevented!”
2004 – “Saving Lives, Restoring Hope”
2005 – “Prevention of Suicide is Everybody’s Business”
2006 – “With Understanding New Hope”
2007 – “Suicide prevention across the Life Span”
2008 – “Think Globally, Plan Nationally, Act Locally”
2009 – “Suicide Prevention in Different Cultures”
2010 – “Families, Community Systems and Suicide”
2011 – “Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies”
2012 – “Suicide Prevention across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope”
2013 – “Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention”
2014 – “Light a candle near a Window”
2015 – “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives”
2016 – “Connect, Communicate, Care”
2017 – “Take a Minute, Change a Life”
2018 – “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”
2019 – “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”
2020 – “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”
2021 – “Creating Hope Through Action”
The following are the priorities for suicide prevention as declared at the 2012 World Suicide Prevention Day event.
- We should indeed continue to research suicide and nonfatal suicidal behavior, taking into consideration both barriers and facilitators.
- We should instead formulate and maintain awareness campaigns to generate public awareness and understanding of suicidal behavior, integrating evidence on both risk and protective factors.
- We must redouble our efforts not only on reducing risk factors, but also on strengthening protective factors, particularly in childhood and adolescence.
- We need to engage with people who do not seek help and thus do not receive treatment when they are in need.
- We must ensure long-term funding for suicide research and prevention.
- We must persuade government to set up suicide prevention strategies for all countries and to support the implementation of those strategies that have been shown to save lives.
- We must increase the availability of mental health resources and remove barriers to care.
- We must disseminate suicide prevention research evidence to policymakers at the international, national, and local levels.
- We must reduce stigma and increase mental health literacy among the general public and health care professionals.
- We must instruct healthcare workers to better understand the evidence-based risk and protective factors associated with suicidal behavior.
- Primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention must all be combined.
- We must increase the use and adherence to treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating a variety of conditions, as well as set priorities research into the therapeutic potential aimed at reducing self-harm and suicidality.
Physical and, in particular, mental health issues, such as depression, are among the most common of a long list of complex and interconnected factors, ranging from financial difficulties to the experience of abuse, aggression, exploitation, and mistreatment, that can contribute to the feelings of pain and hopelessness that underpin suicide.
Substance and alcohol abuse are frequently involved. Prevention strategies focus primarily on raising public awareness about social stigma and suicidal behavior.
In richer countries, men commit suicide at three times the rate of women, but in low- and middle-income countries, the male-to-female ratio is much lower, at 1.5 men for every woman.
Males are four times more likely than females to commit suicide in the United States. Females, on the other hand, are more likely than males to attempt suicide. The disparity in suicide rates has been explained in part by the use of more lethal means, as well as men’s higher rates of violence and intent to die.
In this regard, I came across an article on LinkedIn written by Mr. Joe Kujawa on his beloved son’s birthday who attempted suicide on October 27, 2018.
On his birthday, September 4th, he decided to spread kindness, love, and hope in order to support September Suicide Awareness Month and let those suffering from mental illness know they are not alone. In this article, he also stated that his son Jack’s goal was to change the world one heart at a time.
He also mentioned that Jack was suffering from mental illness. Jack was a goofy character who used to dress up in silly costumes, ask people about their days, and leave milkshakes on their doorsteps to make them laugh.
Jack was in pain on the inside; he should have stayed in bed for days, taking naps in his car between classes. Jack did everything he could to overcome these obstacles and spare others the agony he was experiencing.
On his birthday, September 4, 2021, his father planned to run a Random Act Of Kindness (RAOK) post, requesting that it be shared on all social platforms with hashtags such as #jacktiude #kujawastrong #mentalhealthmatters
He concluded his article by saying that no RAOK is too small, and that everyone, including children, can participate! He suggested calling your loved ones to see if they are okay, drawing a picture for someone, and, of course, purchasing a milkshake. This would have been Jack’s case.
Let’s be a part of his aim “Change the world, one heart at a time.”
List of Suicide Crisis Lines
Suicide crisis hotlines can be found in many countries around the world. Many are aimed at a broad audience, while others target a specific demographic. Suicide crisis lines have been shown in studies in the United States and Australia to help people who are contemplating suicide or harming themselves, as well as to make them feel better.
The Samaritans, founded in the United Kingdom in 1953 by Chad Varah, then Rector of the former St. Stephen’s Church in London, was one of the first suicide crisis lines. After reading a sermon at the grave of a 13-year-old girl who died by suicide, he decided to start a ‘listening service.’ She was in a lot of pain before she died and had no one to talk to.
If you’re in a terrible spot and considering suicide, please talk to someone you know or call one of these global helplines. You can also talk about suicide, depression, anxiety, and other issues in our forum.
By taking your own life, you may put an end to your problems, but your nearest and dearest are the ones who bear the brunt of the pain. Don’t let depression rob you of everything. Consider your family and friends, as I discussed in a previous blog.
“Soak up the views. Take in the bad weather and the good weather. You are not the storm.”
Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.
“Never, never, never give up.”
“If you’re looking for a sign not to kill yourself, this is it.” –
“The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand… why?”Clark
“If you want to show me that you really love me, don’t say that you would die for me, instead stay alive for me.”Unknown
“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.”Unknown
“When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long.”Unknown