World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, 10 September

8 September, 2021

The text below is from the International Association of Suicide Prevention, followed by an extract from the WHO website and a comment from me. Read online: https://www.iasp.info/wspd2021/

One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. It can affect every one of us. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them. However, by raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world. World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally...

You can help give someone hope by showing that you care. All of us can play a role, no matter how small. We may never know what we do that makes a difference. We all can reach in and ask somebody. You do not need to tell them what to do or have solutions, but simply making the time and space to listen to someone about their experiences of distress or suicidal thoughts can help. Small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling.

Stigma is a major barrier to help-seeking. Changing the narrative around suicide through the promotion of hope can create a more compassionate society where those in need feel more comfortable in coming forward to seek help. We can all do something to live in a world where suicide is recognised and we can all do something to help prevent it.

The insights and stories of people with a lived experience of suicide can be extremely powerful in helping others understand suicide better and encourage people to reach in to support someone, and for individuals to reach out for help themselves. It’s really important that the person sharing their story knows how to do so in a way that is safe for them and for those who hear their story.

Personal stories of an individual’s experiences of significant emotional distress, suicidal thoughts or attempt, and their experiences of recovery can inspire hope in others that they too can move through the period of distress or crisis, and their insights can help others understand what it means to feel suicidal and how they can support others...

By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain.

You can be the light.

WHO

The WHO website reminds us that Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among young people, and is entirely preventable.

'Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide as a major public health problem and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it. To date, only a few countries have included suicide prevention among their health priorities and only 38 countries report having a national suicide prevention strategy.'

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide

COMMENT (Neil PW): Health workers, the public, policymakers, every person needs access to reliable healthcare information to prevent and manage mental health issues, to prevent suicide, to gain better awareness and understanding, and to eliminate stigma. Improving the availability and use of healthcare information has the potential to dramatically reduce suicide, just as it would dramatically reduce death and suffering from all causes.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org