Over 800,000 people commit suicide across the world every year, according to the World Health Organization. That’s a lot of people needlessly taking their own life, and an even larger amount of people who are affected by someone they know committing suicide. On Saturday 10th September, World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 will take place across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and how people can help and support those with suicidal thoughts.
It is difficult to know whether any suicide could be prevented. Undoubtedly family members, colleagues and friends will feel like they could have done more to help, but often they are totally unaware of the person’s mental health issues. Also you might be able to prevent a person taking their life once, but unless they seek professional help they may try again at some point.
Connect, Communicate and Care
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Connect, communicate, care.’ It highlights how family members and friends can help someone with suicidal thoughts simply by showing them they care. Simply checking in and connecting with someone could show them that they aren’t alone and don’t have to take drastic action. Caring can also include supporting that person with professional help and offering them information about therapy for depression and mental health treatment.
What do I Look For?
It can be very difficult to recognise a person’s intention to commit suicide, especially if you don’t know them extremely well. A suicide attempt can be an instinctive action, or it can be very carefully planned. If someone knows they have suicidal feelings, they might be able to know when they are having symptoms and warn somebody. If this is not the case, there are a few warning signs loved ones or colleagues can look out for, but each case differs. Here are a few things to watch for according to Mind:
· A change in behaviour
· A person not taking care of themselves, including what they eat and how they look
· Taking an interest in suicide or talking about ending their own life
· Sleep problems
· A feeling of uselessness and having no purpose
· Experiencing loss, bereavement
The International Association for Suicide Prevention has launched the official website for WSPD 2016. Take a look for more information about the campaign and activities you could take part in on the day, or more general help and advice about suicide prevention.