According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 800,000 people die by suicide each year. For every 1 suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt. The ripple effect of each suicide affects 135 people, which equates to 108 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy.
World Suicide Prevention Day was created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and provides an opportunity for people across the globe to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. Their theme for 2021 to 2023 is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. This message is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and our actions, no matter how big or small, can provide hope to those who are struggling. We can all play a part in supporting someone in their darkest moment.
There are many complex factors and causes that can lead to suicide, including mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, loneliness, suffering from chronic pain or being dependent on alcohol or drugs. Those experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel they are trapped or a burden to their family and friends, with suicide being the only option. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to increased feelings of being vulnerable and isolated. By creating hope through action, we can help those experiencing suicidal thoughts to realise there are people who care and want to support them. To give people the confidence to take action, the IASP would like us to consider the following:
- Reach in – All of us can help to give hope to someone by showing that we care, by making the time and space to listen about their experiences of distress or suicidal thoughts.
- Encourage understanding – Stigma is a major barrier to seeking help. Changing the narrative around suicide through the promotion of hope can create a more compassionate society, so those in need feel able to reach out for help.
- Share experiences – The insights and stories of people who have survived suicide can be extremely powerful in helping others understand it better and encourage people to reach in to support someone, and for individuals to reach out for help themselves. Listening to an individual’s story can give hope to others and reassure them it is possible to move through the period of distress or crisis.
We are also encouraged to light a candle near a window at 8pm on 10 September to show our support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost one and for the survivors of suicide.
If you are feeling alone with your problems or have concerns about a friend, colleague or family member, contact the Counselling team at Validium for support, help and guidance.