World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual awareness raising event held each year on 10 September reaching out to people who may be struggling to cope.
It’s about raising awareness and connecting with others and letting people who may be struggling to cope or in distress know that “IT’S OK TO TALK”.
CWU's Dave Joyce explains:
This worldwide event is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Various events and activities are held to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
Nearly 3000 people on average die by suicide daily, according to WHO. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. About one million people die by suicide each year. Suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death which is influenced by psychosocial, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through worldwide responses that address these main risk factors. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.
World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is annually held on September 10 each year as an IASP initiative. The WHO co-sponsors this event. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to:
- Raise awareness that suicide is preventable.
- Improve education about suicide.
- Spread information about suicide awareness.
- Decrease stigmatisation regarding suicide.
The WHO and IASP work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatised, criminalised or penalised. The WHO’s role is to build political action and leadership to develop national responses to prevent suicide, strengthen national planning capacity to establish the core building blocks of such a national response, and build the national capacities to implement these responses.
Why is it important?
More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and ROI, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to by a colleague or just being told that ‘it’s ok to talk’ can make a huge difference.
What you can do
Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling or in distress. You can also spread the word.
When a person reaches a point where they are focused on taking their life, they’ve often lost sight of trying to find a way through their problems. This period usually only lasts a short while and often it doesn’t take a huge amount to bring someone back from that decision – something as simple as saying, ‘it’s ok to talk’ can be enough to move someone out of suicidal crisis.
How can people reach out?
It can be daunting to approach someone who is struggling to cope; you may not know what to say, or worry that you’ll make things worse. However, you don’t need to be an expert. Often, just asking if someone’s OK and letting them know you’re listening can give people the confidence to open up about how they’re feeling.
Other sources of information
The Samaritans are a well-known UK charity that is there round the clock every single day of the year for anyone struggling to cope. If you’re worried about someone, or would like emotional support yourself, please get in touch with the Samaritans:
PO Box 9090
T: 116 123 (UK)
T: 116 123 (ROI)
E: firstname.lastname@example.org (UK)
E: email@example.com (ROI)
Source: CWU / Dave Joyce LTB515/18