World Suicide Prevention Day

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“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.

Every year 10th September is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day or WSPD. It is an awareness day to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides through the help of various organizations or mass awareness workshops globally. Stats says that one million people per year die by suicide or about one person in 10,000 commits such act. In other words, a death every 40 seconds i.e. 3,000 every day are encountered as suicidal death.  As the world has recently seen unprecedented change because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has risen to global priority.

Let’s get some crisp info about World Suicide Prevention Day or WSPD from below.

History of World Suicide Prevention Day 

On 10 September 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day was first observed in Stockholm, Sweden, when the International Association for Suicide Prevention teamed up with the WHO and the World Federation for Mental Health to mark a dedicated day to the message – suicides are preventable. Professor De Leo also said – ‘World Suicide Prevention Day aims to put the issue on the agenda globally and regionally, but it also seeks to show that action must be taken locally – and this action starts with you and me.

In 2016, a two-toned ribbon with yellow and orange colours, that represent a candle flame, was created to raise awareness regarding WSPD. In 2018, the ribbon was added as a Twitter emoji for the World Suicide Prevention Day hashtag which was available in 16 different languages.

World Suicide Prevention Day continues to grow year on year, with more than 60 countries observing this day with hundreds of events ranging from educational, commemorative to press and public conferences. The goal of observing World Suicide Prevention Day is to reach out to people who are struggling before it’s too late. This year, the World Suicide Prevention Day theme is “creating hope through action.”

What is IASP?

The International Association for Suicide Prevention or IASP is an international suicide prevention organization, founded by Erwin Ringel and Norman Farberow in 1960. Its main aim is to prevent suicide and suicidal behaviour thus alleviating its effects. IASP plays a vital role in the prevention of suicide by developing an effective forum in strong collaborative partnerships with various organizations like WHO, WFMH etc. International Association for Suicide Prevention focuses on preventing suicidal behaviour and providing a forum for mental health crisis workers, suicide survivors and people affected by suicidal behaviour in one way or other. IASP consists of professionals and volunteers from over 50 countries globally.

Suicidal Prevention Priorities 

Some of the World Suicide Prevention Day priorities are stated below-

  • Research on suicide and non-fatal suicidal behaviour, addressing both risk and proactive factors.
  • Develop and implement awareness campaigns for increased awareness of suicidal behaviours in the community
  • Train health care professionals for a better understanding of the evidence-based risk associated with suicidal behaviour.
  • Increase the availability of mental health resources and reducing barriers to access them
  • Disseminate research evidence about suicide prevention to policymakers globally
  • Remove the stigma and promote mental health literacy worldwide
  • Influence governments to develop suicide prevention strategies to save lives.

Factors of Attempt to Suicide 

Though it’s very difficult to rate what socio-cultural factors can lead to suicidal activity and predict human behaviour, there remain some major factors that stats say are major contributing factors to trigger suicidal activities. 

  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Difficulties in dealing with one own identity
  • Disassociation from one’s community

Way Ahead

Suicide is complicated and tragic but preventable. Suicide prevention is not addressed due to a lack of awareness of it as a major health problem and the taboo associated with it. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is necessary to prevent this disease from engulfing precious lives. IASP also organizes a cycling event, Cycle Around the Globe, to raise awareness for suicide prevention globally. This year this event will be virtually conducted on World Suicide Prevention Day to support the global community engage in a collaborative effort to cycle any distance to help prevent suicide.

When your principles seem to be demanding suicide, clearly it’s time to check your premises.”

— Nathaniel Branden

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