Today is the annual World Suicide Prevention Day, and according to the International Association of Suicide Prevention website, the point of today is “to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.” Such activities include learning how to reach out to someone who is struggling, holding conferences, writing articles or blog posts, organizing memorial services, and so much more.
A report by WHO estimates that a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds (about 3,000 a day and over 800,000 a year). However, that statistic is nearly impossible to calculate because of the stigma that continues to surround the topic; many of these deaths are not recorded under their true reasoning. Even with more research and knowledge on the subject, suicide is still neglected as a major public health issue.
This year’s theme is “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.” This is a call to action for both organizations and individuals; it’s up to all of us. The focus is on how we can support those who are struggling and how showing that kind of care for someone can really turn things around. According to the pamphlet made by the International Association for Suicide Prevention:
“Asking them whether they are OK, listening to what they have to say in a non-judgmental way, and letting them know you care, can all have a significant impact. Isolation increases the risk of suicide, and, conversely, having strong social connections is protective against it, so being there for someone who has become disconnected can be life-saving.”
Similarly, it can be just as important to reach out to those who have lost someone. For many this can be an extremely trying time of questioning and putting blame on themselves. It can be hard to understand and cope. Loved ones often feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to go for help. Lending a hand or just listening could make a huge difference.
Recently, we had the opportunity to run a campaign with the site Too Damn Young, using the hashtag #TellUsAboutThem. The object of the campaign was to provide a space for those who have lost loved ones to talk about their lives instead of only their deaths. TDY is a great community and a great place to hear the stories of like-minded people, letting you know that you’re not the only one feeling this way. I highly encourage you to reach out to their site if you need support.
Please also refer to our Links page if you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide. Each of these deaths is preventable, and that’s exactly what we want to do. Help is out there, and we want you to either find it or be it. There are always other options. Each death by suicide is one too many.
You are loved, you are worth it, and you are better than this. You can make it.