World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed every year on 10th September, which is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The aim of this day is to create awareness among people about the fact that suicide can be prevented.
According to WHO, worldwide about 700000 people die due to suicide and for every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. Suicide is the fourth major cause of death among young people 15-19 years of age. The most common methods of suicide are ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms, globally.
This year’s theme for WSPD is Creating Hope Through Action. It is a reminder for all of us that our actions no matter how big and small may create hope to those who are in their darkest moments.
Covid-19 has raised the importance of mental health because of psychosocial implication of social distancing, isolation, quarantine and economic loss during pandemic. The theme encourages people to act to prevent suicides in the world. This three-year theme (2021-2023) aims to ‘create a social movement of preventative action’ by involving everyone, especially:
We all as a family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments have a role to play and together we can collectively act for the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.
Warning signs of suicide: There are certain warning signs that include: hopelessness, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family & society, anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time and dramatic mood changes.
The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgment can help restore hope. You can sit with them, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to tell their story. This small gesture goes a long way.
Taking a minute to reach out to someone in your community – a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger – could change the course of another’s life.
• Take a minute to notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues.
• Take a minute to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different.
• Take a minute to find out what help is available for both you and others.
Sometimes people are hesitant to intervene for a fear of not knowing what to say. But there is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.
Another factor that prevents individuals from intervening is the worry of making the situation worse. But evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.
Suicides are preventable. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important to make progress in preventing suicide. Communities play a critical role in suicide prevention. They can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide.
“If you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them, listen with an open mind and offer your support”.
Know about behaviour health during COVID-19 pandemic- https://www.mohfw.gov.in/
Mental health in pandemic: Mental Health Matters..Let's Talk (video by MoHFW, GOI)
Preventing suicide: Videos by WHO
Toll free helplines:
Psychosocial Support and Mental Health Services, toll free helpline by MoHFW- 08046110007
24x7 Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran: 1800-599-0019
LIVE LIFE- An implementation guide for suicide prevention by WHO