World Suicide Prevention Day is on each and every September 10. It’s organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). It’s purpose is to raise awareness around the world that suicide can be prevented. According to the IASP:
• more than 800,000 people every year die by suicide
• up to 25 times as many make the attempt
• it is the 15th leading cause of death globally
• it is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds
• 60 people are affected by each suicide death, equating to 48 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year
• relatives and close friends of people who die by suicide are also a high risk group, due to the trauma and burden of the loss, and shared risks
Suicide is not the result of a single path, but of a convergence of risk factors. These can include genetic, psychological, social, and cultural risk factors, combined with experiences of trauma or loss. Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide, and half of individuals in high income countries who die by suicide have major depressive disorder at the time of their death. Other risk factors include chronic pain or illness, alcohol abuse, and sudden traumatic losses or events.
WHO, stating that there are more deaths from suicide than from war and homicide combined, recognizes suicide as a public health priority and aims to increase awareness and make prevention a high priority, as well as promote mental health and well-being.
This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ The theme is meant to encourage us to take a minute to reach out to someone, ask them if they are okay, ask them if they need anything, or ask them if they want to talk. Almost all of those who have survived a suicide attempt have stated that if someone had taken a minute, they would have allowed them to intervene and change the drastic course of their life.
“People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life, and about the days, hours and minutes leading up to this. They often describe realizing that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay,” the IASP says.
To show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide, light a candle near a window at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. And if there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute and reach out. You could change—or save—their life.
Research is critical to improving the prevention, treatment and eventual cure of mental health issues and chronic pain and illness. Meridien Research is conducting studies surrounding both at several of our locations. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839.