World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated annually on September 10. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about suicide, its prevention, and providing support to those affected by it. More than 800,000 people die by suicide every year. There are many signs that someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts. These signs include talking about suicide, feeling hopeless or worthless, withdrawing from friends and family, and making changes in their behavior, such as giving away possessions.
RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF STRUGGLE
Recognizing signs of struggle in individuals can be critical to suicide prevention. Here are some important inputs and signals to keep in mind on World Suicide Prevention Day:
1. CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR
- Social Withdrawal: Someone who used to be outgoing suddenly becomes isolated or withdraws from friends and family.
- Drastic Mood Swings: Frequent and extreme mood swings, such as from very sad to extremely calm or happy.
2. VERBAL Clues
- Expressions of hopelessness: statements such as “I can’t go on” or “I wish I were dead.”
- Talking about suicide: Direct or indirect mentions of suicide, death, or the desire to end their life.
3. BEHAVIORAL CHANGES
- Taking greater risks: engaging in reckless behavior, substance abuse, or dangerous activities.
- Giving away possessions: A sudden desire to give away possessions or settle affairs.
4. EMOTIONAL SIGNS
- Overwhelming sadness: Prolonged and intense sadness or despair.
- Irritability: Becoming easily irritated, angry, or irritable, often for no apparent reason.
5. CHANGES TO THE ROUTINE
- Sleep disorders: insomnia or excessive sleep.
- Changes in appetite: 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 CAUGHT
- Feeling stuck: Saying that they feel trapped in their life circumstances or that there is no way out.
8. MAKE FINAL AGREEMENTS
- Sudden planning: making plans for their funeral, writing a will, or making other end-of-life arrangements.
9. SELF HARM
- Self-destructive behavior: exhibiting self-harming behavior, such as cutting or burning.
10. GIVE WARNING SIGNALS
- Reaching out: Sometimes individuals can reach out to others, seeking help or expressing their distress.
Furthermore, many people who are struggling may not express their feelings explicitly. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain open and empathetic communication with friends, family and colleagues and to take all signs of anxiety seriously.
If you believe someone is at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, seek professional help or contact emergency services immediately.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY: 10 FACTS
- Approximately 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year, making suicide one of the leading causes of death.
- The number of suicides is highest among young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
- For every completed suicide, there may be 25 or more suicide attempts.
- Mental 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 greater risk for suicidal thoughts and attempts due to discrimination and stigma.
- Effective suicide prevention strategies include community awareness, mental health services and crisis hotlines.
- 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 World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021-2023. According to the WHO, this theme serves as a compelling rallying cry and a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide. It underlines the idea that our actions can promote hope and strengthen prevention efforts.
HISTORY OF WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
World Suicide Prevention Day was first observed in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The goal was to raise awareness of suicide as a global public health problem and to promote suicide prevention efforts worldwide.
MEANING OF WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
- Raise awareness
It helps raise 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 helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and seeking help for mental health issues.
- Provide assistance
It provides support and resources to individuals who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide or those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY: QUOTES
1. The greatest glory in life lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
2. Never underestimate a person’s pain, because honestly, everyone is struggling. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.” – Will Smith
3. When you feel like giving up, remember the reason you stuck with it for so long.” – Unknown
4. Your life is worth living, and it’s worth fighting for.” – Unknown
5. You don’t always have to be positive. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, irritated, frustrated, scared, or anxious. Having feelings does not make you a ‘negative person’. It makes you human.” – Lori Deschene
6. Your life is important. Your feelings are important. Your voice is important. You Matter.” – Unknown
7. The darkest hour has only sixty minutes.” – Morris Mandel
8. You are not alone, and people care about you. Please reach out if you are having a hard time.” – Unknown
9. Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth.” – Hopi prayer
Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are numerous resources available for people in crisis. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact a mental health professional or crisis hotline immediately.
disclaimer:If you or someone you know needs help, call one 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).