What is World Suicide Prevention Day?
Every year, on September 10th, people around the world come together to observe World Suicide Prevention Day. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing mental health issues and preventing suicide. With millions of lives lost to suicide each year, it's crucial to create awareness, promote understanding, and offer support to those who may be struggling. In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of World Suicide Prevention Day and discuss steps we can all take to make a positive impact.
Understanding the Impact
Suicide is a global public health issue that affects individuals, families, and communities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 700,000 people die by suicide each year, and countless others attempt suicide or struggle with suicidal thoughts. These statistics highlight the urgent need for action to prevent suicide and provide mental health support.
The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH), an international project run by the University of Manchester, examined in-depth information on all suicides in the UK since 1996. This research found that 73% of people who died by suicide between 2010 and 2020 in the UK were by people who were not in contact with mental health services (University of Manchester, 2022).
3 out of 4 of people who die by suicide are not in contact with mental health services.
England has the lowest suicide rate in the UK, with 10.4 suicides per 100,000.
Over the last few years more than 6,000 people in the UK have died by suicide each year. In 2021 there were 5,219 suicides in England, 347 in Wales, 753 in Scotland, and 237 in Northern Ireland.
Breaking the Stigma
One of the biggest barriers to seeking help for mental health issues is the stigma associated with them. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to break down these barriers by fostering open conversations about mental health. By sharing personal stories, spreading awareness, and challenging stereotypes, we can create an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their struggles and seeking help without fear of judgment.
Promoting Mental Health Education
Education plays a vital role in suicide prevention. By increasing our understanding of mental health issues, recognising warning signs, and learning how to provide support, we can intervene early and help those in need. Schools, workplaces, and communities can offer workshops and resources that educate individuals about mental health, resilience, and coping strategies.
If you interested in expanding your self-awareness around suicide, the early warning signs and learn ways to have a potentially life-saving conversation you can take a FREE 20 minute Suicide Awareness Training course online with Zero Suicide Alliance (Endorsed by Royal College of Nursing) by clicking here.
2,496,255 have accessed the ZSA training worldwide.
Support is essential for individuals who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide. On World Suicide Prevention Day, consider reaching out to friends, family members, or colleagues who might be going through a difficult time. A simple gesture of compassion and listening can make a significant difference in someone's life.
If you are struggling with the aftermath of losing a loved one, friend, family member to suicide, you can access support and resources to help you through this incredibly difficult time by navigating Support After Suicide.
What are the early warning signs of Suicide?
Talking About Suicide: If someone starts talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, or saying that others would be better off without them, take these statements seriously.
Expressing Hopelessness: Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can be significant indicators. They might express that things will never get better or that there's no way out of their pain.
Withdrawing from Social Activities: People who are struggling might start isolating themselves from friends, family, and social activities they used to enjoy.
Changes in Behaviour: Dramatic changes in behaviour, routines, or habits can be a sign. This could include changes in sleep patterns, appetite, energy levels, or interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Talking about Being a Burden: They might express feelings of being a burden on others, feeling like they're causing problems or inconvenience for those around them.
Saying Goodbyes: If someone suddenly starts saying goodbyes to loved ones as if they won't be seeing them again, this could be concerning.
Giving Away Possessions: Some individuals might start giving away their belongings or making arrangements for their possessions, as if preparing for the end.
Increased Substance Use: A sudden increase in drug or alcohol use can be a sign that someone is struggling emotionally.
Reckless Behaviour: Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviour might suggest that someone has lost a sense of self-preservation.
Preoccupation with Death: If someone is consistently talking about death, dying, or wanting to die, it's important to take note.
Causes of Suicidal feelings
Mental Health Conditions: Conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia can significantly increase the risk of suicidal feelings. These conditions can alter thoughts, emotions, and perceptions in ways that make life seem unbearable.
Hopelessness: Feeling like there's no way out of a difficult situation or that things will never improve can lead to a sense of hopelessness, which is a common precursor to suicidal thoughts.
Social Isolation: Lack of social support or feeling disconnected from others can contribute to feelings of loneliness and despair, which can exacerbate suicidal feelings.
Substance Abuse: Drug and alcohol abuse can impair judgment and increase impulsivity, making it more likely for someone to act on their suicidal thoughts.
Past Trauma or Abuse: Individuals who have experienced traumatic events or ongoing abuse may struggle with feelings of helplessness and intense emotional pain, which can contribute to suicidal feelings.
Loss of a Loved One: The death of a loved one, especially through suicide, can trigger intense feelings of grief, guilt, and despair that might lead to similar thoughts in others.
Financial Strain: Severe financial difficulties, bankruptcy, impending legal action or loss of livelihood can create a sense of despair and hopelessness, pushing some individuals toward suicidal feelings.
Family History: A family history of suicide or mental health issues can increase the risk of suicidal feelings due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Low Self-Esteem / Problems with Identity: Continuous feelings of being inadequate or a failure.
Sexuality or Gender Identity: Doubts or uncertanity about your sexual or gender identity.
Seeking Professional Help
While offering support is crucial, it's essential to remember that individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts often require professional help. Mental health professionals, such as therapists, counsellors, and psychiatrists, are trained to provide the necessary guidance and treatment. Encouraging someone to seek professional help can be a lifesaving step.
Find local 24/7 support services near you by clicking here.
World Suicide Prevention Day serves as a moving reminder that together, we can make a difference in preventing suicide and promoting mental well-being. By breaking the stigma, educating ourselves, offering support, and advocating for change, we can create a world where everyone feels understood, valued, and supported. Let this day be a starting point for ongoing efforts to prioritise mental health and work towards a future free from the tragedy of suicide.
If you are struggling remember you don't have to face your struggles alone and can reach out to a professional. Taking the first step towards therapy can be daunting, but remember, it's also an act of self-care and courage. The Flawed Journey provides a FREE 30 Minute Consultation which can be the first step towards finding the best care for you.