The World Health Organization (WHO) focuses on a specific mental health issue annually on October 10th to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day. This year’s focus is on suicide prevention and the steps people around the world can take to help those in need. While Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year on September 10th, the WHO wants to improve awareness on the significance of suicide as a global problem.
Suicidal behavior is not a recent epidemic; rather, it has existed throughout human history. Within the past few decades, however, suicide rates have dramatically increased. The WHO estimates that roughly 800,000 people commit suicide every year, and it is the primary cause of death for people between the ages of 15-29. While people in this age range may exhibit suicidal behavior, anyone can engage in this type of behavior. The most common reasons for suicide include violence, cyber bullying, bullying, or sexual abuse.
Know The Signs:
- Talking about death or suicide
- Giving away possessions
- Losing interest in activities
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Extreme mood swings
- Saying they are a burden
Each person can do his or her part to help prevent suicide. Whether you initiate conversation with someone you are concerned about, or share positive messages with someone who is struggling, know that involving yourself in the situation means a great deal, and it may even prevent a suicide.
Interpret Suicide As A Cry For Help:
A suicide attempt is not always an indication that the person wants to die. It may indicate severe emotional pain, which they do not know how to handle or communicate. Suicide is often the easiest escape route to a seemingly unsolvable problem. If the person survives an attempted suicide, extend yourself to the person as much as you can. Attend meetings with them, go on hikes or engage in group activities, or simply be an ear to listen without judgment. Taking on someone’s burdens may be what they need to avoid committing suicide.
Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About Suicide:
It can be intimidating to discuss the topic of suicide, especially since it may give depressed people ideas. Regardless of what you might say, bringing up the topic opens the discussion about it, giving them the opportunity to open up and ask for help. The best thing you can do in that situation is encourage them to get help because the goal is to remove the stigma that asking for help is a bad thing. Help is all around and it can go a long way in saving lives.
Talk About It If You Have A Platform:
Given that someone commits suicide every 40 seconds, anyone with a platform, be it media-based, digital, political, or as an employer, take time to share this statistic. The message should be that help is all around, whether it is seeking professional help, consulting someone in the workplace, or attending a community meeting. Use your platform to open up the conversation about mental health; it means more than you realize.
The objective of World Mental Health Day 2019 is to raise awareness about suicide prevention, and make people aware of the various resources that exist. Suicide is preventable and can be avoided, and we need everyone’s help to increase organizations or services in all communities, so that people who need help can get it.