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World Suicide Prevention Day: How to Seek Help and Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention

World Suicide Prevention Day: How to Seek Help and Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention

Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. World Suicide Prevention Day, celebrated annually on September 10th, was designed to bring people together to create support systems for suicide prevention. The event helps to raise awareness about the causes and warning signs of suicide, stop the stigma surrounding it, show compassion for those who are in distress, and to encourage people to share their own experiences.

Facts and Statistics

Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equals one suicide every 40 seconds. And for each of these successful suicides, there are 25 people who attempt to take their own life.

Every one of these lives lost represents someone's partner, spouse, child, parent, friend, or colleague. The pain caused by these losses has effects beyond imagining, and these numbers hardly account for it all:

  • Approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected by one suicide.
  • 108 million people yearly are affected by someone's suicide.

Identifying Causes and Risk Factors

Suicide is the result of the combination of genetic, psychological, social, and cultural influences, as well as other risk factors that may include experiences of trauma or loss. People who take their own lives have unique and complex causes that influence the decision, and these causes require a multifaceted, cohesive approach to suicide prevention.

You can be a part of suicide prevention. Do you see someone who is struggling? Educate yourself on the various risk factors, characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider or attempt suicide. The following are some common risk factors:

  • Mental and emotional disorders: particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders.
  • Substance abuse disorders, such as alcoholism or drug abuse.
  • Major physical illnesses or chronic pain.
  • Job loss or financial hardship.
  • Inadequate health coverage: especially lack of mental health and substance abuse treatment options.
  • Relationship or family difficulties.
  • Lack of social support; isolation.
  • Ongoing or past experiences with bullying.
  • History of trauma or abuse.
  • Family history of suicide.
  • Local clusters of suicide.
  • Exposure to other suicide cases.
  • Previous suicide attempts.
  • Easy access to means of suicide: such as ownership of firearms.

Mental and Emotional Health Issues

Warning Signs

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits one or more of the following signsseek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255:

  • Suicidal ideation: expressing suicidal thoughts or a desire to die.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness, despair, or a "trapped" feeling.
  • Expressing guilt and a feeling of being a burden.
  • Troubling purchases or online searches.
  • Increased drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Reckless behavior.
  • Anxious or agitated behavior.
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness.
  • Social withdrawal or isolation.
  • Outbursts of rage.
  • Extreme mood swings.

World Suicide Prevention Day

How Can You Participate in World Suicide Prevention Day?

On September 10, many organizations and communities across the world are showing their support, and you can too! Here are some ideas how, from the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP):

  1. Take part in the IASP Cycle Around the Globe: this charity cycling event that can be done in groups, individually, at home, in the gym, or anywhere else.
  2. Light a Candle: light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. on World Suicide Prevention Day as a symbol of support for suicide prevention, and in memory of the lives lost.
  3. Get active on Social Media: follow the IASP on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WorldSuicidePreventionDay! And if you're comfortable, share your story with others.

Suicide Prevention Intervention

Suicide Prevention

Joining together is crucial to preventing suicide. Research shows that suicide prevention efforts are most effective spanning multiple levels and incorporating multiple interventions. This requires community involvement, increased health care access, policy reform, and changes in attitudes regarding suicide as well as mental and emotional health issues.

It also involves loved ones. Suicide prevention requires the efforts of many people, including family members, friends, healthcare professionals, and community and government leaders. The millions of people affected each year by suicide and other mental health illnesses have unique voices. Their experiences are invaluable in creating support networks that not only prevent suicide but also make communities stronger. informing suicide prevention measures and influencing the provision of supports for suicidal people, and those around them.

We  can all take action in some way. Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can do to help others and make a difference.

If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

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