World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Posted on: 9/09/2021

Observed on September 10th every year, World Suicide Prevention Day provides the opportunity for people across the globe to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. This year, the theme is 'Creating Hope Through Action.'

What things can cause someone to experience suicidal thoughts?

  • Life events, such as a traumatic childhood or experiencing physical or emotional abuse
  • An upsetting or life changing event such as a relationship ending or a loved one dying
  • Substance abuse
  • Living alone or having little social contact with other people
  • Mental health conditions including depression, schizophrenia or personality disorder
  • Physical health conditions, especially if they cause pain or serious disability
  • Financial problems
  • Job insecurity

How many people does it affect?
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. Mental health charity Mind report that a staggering 20% of people will have suicidal thoughts in their lifetime, with around 7% of people acting on these thoughts. Women are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and make suicide attempts than men, but men are 3 times more likely to take their own life than women.

Tips for coping with suicidal thoughts:

  • Try not to think about the future – focus on getting through today
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol which are known to have depressant effects
  • Get yourself to a safe place, like a friend or family member’s house
  • Do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet or a hobby
  • Talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust or an emotional support helpline
  • Contact a health professional such as your GP or Community Mental Health Team
  • If you are in real danger of taking your own life call emergency services on 999 or go to A&E

What do I do if someone I love is experiencing these thoughts?
There is still a stigma surrounding the subject of suicide, but we need to work together to end the taboo. It may be uncomfortable to have difficult conversations, but it is important.

Things that you should consider when helping someone:

  • Be non-judgemental. Don’t criticise or blame them
  • Let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone
  • Encourage them to seek help that they are comfortable with
  • Reassure them that they will not feel this way forever

The Samaritans can help both people with suicidal thoughts or those caring for someone with suicidal thoughts. Visit their website here