World Suicide Prevention Day – 10th September 2019
World Mental Health Day, observed on 10 October, is an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and combine efforts in support of mental health. This year, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has decided to make “suicide prevention” the main theme of World Mental Health Day.
Every year close to 800 000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout life and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally.
Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.
Suicidal behaviour has existed throughout human history, but due to several complex factors, it has increased gradually in all parts of the world and, in the past few decades, has reached alarming statistical levels.
It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviours, but it should be made known that many children and young people engage in this kind of behaviour as a result of violence, sexual abuse, bullying and cyberbullying.
Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health, including scientific and professional organisations for mental health users and their families, and universities. It deserves particular attention from national health authorities, since it is their responsibility to craft policies and directives aimed at establishing strategies to prevent suicide and promote the public’s mental health. The role of both print and audiovisual communication media and of social media is no less important, since their participation can have positive as well as negative effects, depending on how they address this subject.
The object of making suicide prevention the theme of World Mental Health Day in 2019 is to attract the attention of governments so that the issue might be given priority in public health agendas around the world.
Getting people to talk about a subject that tends to be taboo and about which many hold mistaken and prejudiced ideas will help the community to learn about the risk factors so that they can identify and learn to address them.
Join us in lighting a candle in your window at 8pm on Tuesday September 10th 2019 to show your support.