World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about suicide, its prevention, and providing support to those affected by it. Every year, over 800,000 people die by suicide. There are many signs that someone may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. These signs include talking about suicide, feeling hopeless or worthless, withdrawing from friends and family, and making changes in their behaviour, such as giving away possessions.
RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF STRUGGLE
Recognizing signs of struggle in individuals can be crucial for suicide prevention. Here are some important inputs and signs to consider on World Suicide Prevention Day:
1. CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR
- Social Withdrawal: Someone who used to be outgoing and suddenly becomes isolated or withdraws from friends and family.
- Drastic Mood Swings: Frequent and extreme shifts in mood, such as going from very sad to extremely calm or happy.
2. VERBAL CLUES
- Expressions of Hopelessness: Statements like “I can’t go on” or “I wish I were dead.”
- Talking About Suicide: Direct or indirect mentions of suicide, death, or a desire to end their life.
3. BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES
- Increased Risk-Taking: Engaging in reckless behavior, substance abuse, or dangerous activities.
- Giving Away Possessions: A sudden desire to give away belongings or settle affairs.
4. EMOTIONAL SIGNS
- Overwhelming Sadness: Prolonged and intense sadness or despair.
- Irritability: Becoming easily agitated, angry, or irritable, often without apparent reason.
5. CHANGES IN ROUTINE
- Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or excessive sleep.
- Appetite Changes: Significant weight gain or loss due to changes in eating habits.
- Withdrawal from Relationships: Avoiding friends, family, and social activities.
- Lack of Interest: Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or activities.
7. EXPRESSIONS OF FEELING TRAPPED
- Feeling Stuck: Saying they feel trapped in their life circumstances or that there’s no way out.
8. MAKING FINAL ARRANGEMENTS
- Sudden Planning: Planning for their funeral, writing a will, or making other end-of-life arrangements.
- Self-Destructive Behaviour: Engaging in self-harming behaviours, such as cutting or burning.
10. GIVING WARNING SIGNS
- Reaching Out: Sometimes, individuals may reach out to others, seeking help or expressing their distress.
Additionally, many people who are struggling may not explicitly express their feelings. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain open and empathetic communication with friends, family, and colleagues and to take any signs of distress seriously.
If you believe someone is at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, please seek professional help or contact emergency services immediately.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY: 10 FACTS
- Approximately 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide each year, making it a leading cause of death.
- Suicide rates are highest among those aged 15-29.
- For every completed suicide, there may be 25 or more attempted suicides.
- Mental health disorders, substance abuse, and a history of self-harm are risk factors for suicide.
- Many suicides are impulsive acts, and timely intervention can prevent them.
- Talking openly about suicide and providing a non-judgmental space for discussion can be crucial.
- Access to lethal means (e.g., firearms) increases the risk of suicide.
- LGBTQ+ individuals may be at higher risk of suicidal ideation and attempts due to discrimination and stigma.
- Effective suicide prevention strategies include community awareness, mental health services, and crisis helplines.
- Preventing suicide is everyone’s responsibility, and we can all play a role in supporting those in need.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2023 THEME
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ is the triennial theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021-2023. As per the WHO, this theme serves as a compelling rallying cry and serves as a reminder that there exists an alternative to suicide. It underscores the idea that our actions can promote hope and bolster prevention efforts.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY HISTORY
World Suicide Prevention Day was first observed in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The goal was to raise awareness about suicide as a global public health issue and to promote suicide prevention efforts worldwide.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY SIGNIFICANCE
- Raise Awareness
It helps to create awareness about the prevalence of suicide and its impact on individuals, families, and communities.
- Promote Prevention
It encourages governments, organizations, and communities to develop and implement suicide prevention strategies and programs.
- Destigmatize Mental Health
It contributes to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues and seeking help for mental health concerns.
- Provide Support
It offers support and resources to individuals who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY: QUOTES
1. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
2. Never underestimate the pain of a person because, in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.” – Will Smith
3. When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long.” – Unknown
4. Your life is worth living, and it’s worth fighting for.” – Unknown
5. You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a ‘negative person.’ It makes you human.” – Lori Deschene
6. Your life matters. Your feelings matter. Your voice matters. You matter.” – Unknown
7. The darkest hour has only sixty minutes.” – Morris Mandel
8. You are not alone, and people do care about you. Please reach out if you’re struggling.” – Unknown
9. Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth.” – Hopi Prayer
Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are numerous resources available for those in crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to a mental health professional or a crisis helpline immediately.
Disclaimer:If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata).