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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.
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:
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:
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 signs, seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255:
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):
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.