Every year on September 10th, we celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day. We celebrate it as a day of awareness to provide a worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides around the world. We do this with different activities around the globe. This day is endorsed by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization better known as IASP and WHO. This international day began in 2003.
Back in 2011, about 40 different countries participated in the occasion and awareness. The United Nations has been assisting with different countries since the 1990s in suicide awareness. Many are grateful that it is now a recognized day and has various activities celebrated around the world.
Let’s look at some of the facts about suicide. In 2011, it was estimated that about a million people a year die by suicide. That is a death every forty seconds, or close to 3000 a day. That is a lot. Remember, this is not even considering the people who have failed suicide attempts. WHO has stated that for every 20 people who have attempted suicide, only one is successful. That is too high of a number for most of us to fathom. That means that most of us know at least one person who have attempted suicide.
Most people who commit, or at least attempt to commit suicide are between the ages of 15-24. Think back at what a vulnerable time that was for you at that age. You just had to know that it gets better, but for some people they do not always believe this. WHO also stated that suicides count for half of the violent deaths that occur in the world? More people kill themselves than people who diet in wars and are involved in terrorist acts. That is according to IASP. That is too much to fathom. That is why World Suicide Prevention Day is so very important to the world. It can help unite us even just for one day.
Since becoming an annual event in 2003, each year has had a different theme. 2003 kicked it off with “Suicide Can Be Prevented”. This year in 2016 our theme is “Connect, Communicate, Care”. How can you participate you ask? Well here are some ideas for World Suicide Prevention Day 2016: Connect, Communicate Care:
If you are an activist like me, start by writing a letter. This can be written to your municipality, local newspaper, or even to your local news station. The idea is to get the idea out. World Suicide Prevention Day can often be overshadowed by September 11th, but it is your civic duty to shed light on both days. I know, it will be quite a sombre weekend, but it makes sense to have the two days back to back.
Ask your township to honour the day. If you have been affected, or know someone who has been affected by suicide, ask to celebrate them that day. It is difficult on families to discuss suicide, so if you know of a group that is willing to help, go to them. Suicide may not be preventable, but it should be discussed. Open eyes to it and let people see how it can hurt people around them.
Offer counselling sessions at World Suicide Prevention Day activities. Since 2016 is “Connect, Communicate, Care”, what better way to do so then have a counsellor come in and discuss suicide with people contemplating. It is all about prevention and getting to it early so you can turn your life around. You need to remind everyone that it does get better. We all have ups and downs, but things always get better.
When I noticed what the age bracket was for most popular age of suicide, it made me stop and think about the people I know who not only committed suicide, but also the ones who attempted suicide but failed to do so. Many were between the ages of 15-24. Students at my university, kids I went to high school with and people I knew who graduated afterwards. Some people could not handle the pressure of living outside of their comfortable bubble life at university, while others could not hand the stress of university.
If you know of someone who has suicidal thoughts, get them to a World Suicide Prevention Day event. This can hopefully make or break their thoughts. It is a stressful time in their life, but always tell them that it does get better. Life is full of ups and downs, don’t you want to see what some of your ups are?
You can follow the event across the social media with the hashtag #WSPD #wspd.