Connect, communicate and care on World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. September 10th, is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals – to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
Those activities may call attention to the global burden of suicidal behaviour, and discuss local, regional and national strategies for suicide prevention, highlighting cultural initiatives and emphasizing how specific prevention initiatives are shaped to address local cultural conditions.
Initiatives which actively educate and involve people are likely to be most effective in helping people learn new information about suicide and suicide prevention.
The first World Suicide Prevention Day was held in 2003 and was an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then, World Suicide Prevention Day has taken place on 10th September each year.
- Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
- For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds.
- 75% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
Methods of suicide
It is estimated that around 30% of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries. Other common methods of suicide are hanging and firearms.
Knowledge of the most commonly used suicide methods is important to devise prevention strategies which have shown to be effective, such as restriction of access to means of suicide.
Prevention and control
Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:
- reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
- reporting by media in a responsible way;
- introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol;
- early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
- training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
- follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
Suicide is a complex issue and therefore suicide prevention efforts require coordination and collaboration among multiple sectors of society, including the health sector and other sectors such as education, labour, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media. These efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact on an issue as complex as suicide.