World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) was established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with World Health Organization (WHO). It is celebrated on 10 September every year, in order to encourage worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities organised around the world. IASP leads the global role in suicide prevention by strategically developing an effective forum that is proactive in creating strong collaborative partnerships and promoting evidence-based action in order to reduce the incidence of suicide and suicidal behaviour.
The WHO estimates that more than 700,000 people die due to suicide each year and that almost 77% of all global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). For every suicide there are many more who attempt suicide or have serious suicidal ideation. Suicidal behaviour profoundly impacts families and communities and remains a universal challenge. The reduction of suicide mortality is of global importance and a vital public health consideration. As we know, suicide is not a solution, so we should prevent not only people of our country but of the whole world from it.
Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, according to the WHO. That’s about 800,000 people worldwide every year – although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million. It’s said suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and globally is the 15th leading cause of death. More people die from suicide than from murder or war. It affects all age groups equally. It’s important therefore to have discussions around mental health, making it easier for others to talk about the tough times they are going through and seek professional help if necessary. IASP and WHO aim to communicate to society that anyone can dissuade someone from ending their life through the openly endorsed message, ‘Take a Minute, Change a Life.’ Both organisations try to help those who suffer from depression and they raise funds in support of mental health. WHO’s role is to build political action and leadership to develop national responses and prevent suicide, strengthen national planning capacity to establish the core building blocks, and build national capacities for implementing these responses.
On its first event in 2003, the WHO introduced the main strategy for implementation of World Suicide Prevention Day as follows:
• The organisation of global, regional, and national multi-sectoral activities to increase awareness about suicidal behaviour and how to prevent it effectively.
• The strengthening of countries’ capabilities to develop and evaluate national policies and plans for suicide prevention.
Theme of WSPD 2022
“Creating hope through action” is the theme of WSPD this year. It reflects the need for collective action to address this urgent public health issue. All of us – family members, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments – can take action to prevent suicide in our region.
The writer is a graduate student at Govt Degree College Kupwara. [email protected]