Every year on the 10th of September, the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed to represent the global commitment to suicide prevention. Suicide is a leading cause of death and now it is far more common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 700,000 people who take their own life and there are many more people who attempt to take their own life. Therefore, suicide is not a simple problem, it is a serious public health problem. In fact, suicide occurs throughout different stages of lifespan, but it is the fourth leading cause of death among 15–19-year-olds in 2019. Although suicide is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world, according to the WHO’s data, over 77% of global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries in 2019.
The World Suicide Prevention Day was first implemented in 2003 and was organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the WHO. “Suicide is preventable” was the first message that was given on the first World Suicide Prevention Day. Over the years this day has evolved its messaging to include a theme and “Creating hope through action” is the theme of the World Suicide Prevention Day for the year 2022. The community can take actions to prevent suicide in the region and help individuals who are suffering from suicidal thoughts by creating hope through action. No matter how big or small this year’s theme is, it mainly focuses on the importance of taking an action against this issue.
People who commit suicide or attempt suicide have an adverse influence on their families, communities, and societies. We can see many factors which combine to lead a person to the decision to take their own life such as mental illness, traumatic stress, substance use and impulsivity, loss or fear of loss, etc. By this time, COVID-19 has further amplified associated risk factors for suicide, such as loss of employment or financial resources, abuse or trauma, mental and drug use problems, and difficulties in receiving medical treatment. According to the estimations of WHO, around 20% of global suicides are occurred due to self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas, and hanging, and firearms are other examples of suicide methods. Since suicides are preventable, it is important to have knowledge of the most commonly used suicide methods. When it comes to suicide prevention efforts, it requires coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors such as the health sector, education, labour, law, justice, and politics. Since no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide, there must be comprehensive and integrated efforts.
Every year on this day, numerous countries participate to host some events and activities. IASP released the film “Step Closer”, a cycling event hosted in more than 40 countries, and light a candle campaign to encourage survivors of suicide were some of the events that took place during the past years. All these efforts represent the importance of suicide prevention and it provides awareness to the global community about suicide prevention.
When someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts, just listen to them and let them share their thought at their own speed. It may be a chance to save people from taking their own life. Sometimes it may be difficult, but when we find solutions together it is easy to prevent suicides. On this day, if you are a person who is willing to support people and prevent suicides, just take this to your mind.
“Prevention of suicides requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain. You can be the light!”