World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed every year on 10th September, which is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The aim of this day is to create awareness among people about the fact that suicide can be prevented.
According to WHO, worldwide about 800000 people die due to suicide (one death every 40 seconds) and for every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. Suicide is the second major cause of death among young people 15-29 years of age. The most common methods of suicide are ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms globally.
Theme for WSPD 2019 is same as last year’s “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” and this theme will also be used for WSPD 2020 as it highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention- ‘collaboration’. Each of us can contribute in preventing suicide just by being compassionate and reaching out to others.
We all as a family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments have a role to play and together we can collectively act for the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.
By raising awareness about the causes of suicide, warning signs for suicide and care for those who are in distress can help to prevent suicides.
Warning signs of suicide: There are certain warning signs that include: hopelessness, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family & society, anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time and dramatic mood changes.
The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope. You can sit with them, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to tell their story. This small gesture goes a long way.
Taking a minute to reach out to someone in your community – a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger – could change the course of another’s life.
• Take a minute to notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues.
• Take a minute to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different.
• Take a minute to find out what help is available for both you and others.
Sometimes people are hesitant to intervene for a fear of not knowing what to say. But there is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.
Another factor that prevents individuals from intervening is the worry of making the situation worse. But evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.
Suicides are preventable. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important to make progress in preventing suicide. Communities play a critical role in suicide prevention. They can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide.
“If you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them, listen with an open mind and offer your support”.
To know more about WSPD 2019 activities: https://www.iasp.info/wspd2019
World Suicide Prevention Day 2018- https://www.nhp.gov.in/world-suicide-prevention-day,-2018_pg
Myths about suicide- www.who.int/