The International Association for Suicide Prevention IASP has declared September 10 to be World Suicide Prevention Day. Conducted each year to commemorate the estimated 800,000 people worldwide who die by suicide annually, the IASP is holding a special candlelight event at 8 pm on September 10. Among the resources available on the World Suicide Prevention Day webpage are brochures, banners, a facts and figures PowerPoint presentation, and a toolkit for organizations wanting to hold their own World Suicide Prevention Day events.
This year's theme is Suicide Prevention: One World Connected. The theme reflects the fact that connections are important for individuals at risk for suicide and to combat the social isolation that can lead to many people killing themselves. Connectedness is also important for the mental health treatment that is often not available in far too many places around the world, and the stigma that prevents people from reaching out for help. Though national and international organizations provide what help they can, too many people still "fall between the cracks" and fail to find the help they need. This year's theme is also important because the WHO has just released its first World Suicide Report and a Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan by the World Health Assembly. The plan commits all 194 member states to reduce their suicide rates by 10 percent by 2020.
Both the IASP and the World Health Organization has been setting aside September 10 for World Suicide Prevention Day since 2003. The events marking this day serve to remind us that one suicide death occurs every 40 seconds and that suicide is the 15th leading cause of death overall (that figure is much higher for people in the 15 to 29-year age group). The number of lives lost to suicide is greater than the number of homicides and deaths from war combined. And for every suicide death that occurs, there are over 20 suicide attempts made. Along with the loss of life involved with suicide, there is also the emotional harm that suicide has on the family members and friends left behind.
Please use this occasion to think about suicide can affect your life and ho you can reach out to the ones who need help the most..