World Suicide Prevention Day (IASP and WHO)
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on September 10th every year to encourage and support the worldwide commitment to suicide prevention.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year, more than 703,000 people die by suicide. In the countries such as United States, suicide is a leading cause of death. In the United Kingdom, data published by the Office for National Statistics on 1 September showed that in 2019 and 2020 the suicide rate among men and boys was the highest since 2000, whereas the suicide rate among women and girls was the highest since 2004.
It is believed by sharing mental health stories, raising awareness and taking actionable steps in the local communities, suicides can be prevented. World Suicide Prevention Day reinforces this idea by providing events, resources and information.
There are many things everyone can do to help to prevent suicides:
- To add crisis resource numbers to the mobile phone and encourage family members and friends to do the same.
- To reach out to a friend, family member or person in the community who may be struggling with mental health.
- To advocate for mental health policies which aim for everyone in the community to have access to mental health care, suicide prevention training and funding for local crisis resources.
- To get involved in the suicide prevention organisations by attending events or hosting events, donating money and/or volunteering.
- To support the ongoing work of local, national and international organisations that are working to prevent suicide around the world. These organisations include the ones that offer substance misuse services, behavioural health services and mental health care, homeless shelters, community support groups and other services that support individuals through personal hardships.
The initial goal of World Suicide Prevention Day was to amplify the message that “suicide is preventable.” This year, in 2021, the international theme is called ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. The theme is intended to be a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and that people’s actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.
According to IASP the main suicide triggers are poverty, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, arguments and legal or work-related problems. Suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, unemployment, difficulties with developing one's identity, accepting one’s sexual orientation or disassociation from one's community).
Says Nicholas “As counsellors and psychotherapists suicide is something people talk to us about either because they are having suicidal or life ending thoughts or when they have lost a family member, partner or friend.
When suicidal thoughts occur, it can be difficult to break free from the cycle and seek help”.
Counsellors and psychotherapists have experience and training in working with suicide, understanding how suicidal thoughts occur and can help in learning new coping mechanisms to break the cycle. These methods can help in being able to see beyond suicidal thoughts and seek out alternative options to the issues faced.
Talking through issues and seeking help might sound difficult when faced with suicidal thoughts and the sense that suicide is the only option.
One of the major reasons why people want to talk to a counsellor or psychotherapist, in addition to their training and experience is that speaking to a professional who is not personally involved can often feel much easier than speaking to a friend or relative.
Also, it is often the case that when someone loses another person through suicide difficult feelings and thoughts arise which can be hard to deal, counsellors and psychotherapists are used to talking to people about all sorts of loss including suicide. It is normal to feel a huge range of different feelings and people often come to therapy to talk about their experience and try to find ways to cope and find a way forward.