Spare a thought on #WorldSuicidePreventionDay
Today has been internationally marked down as World Suicide Prevention Day. Take a “moment” or simply “spare a thought” for what this actually means today!
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.
This tragic ripple effect means that there are many, many more people who are impacted by or exposed to suicide and the pain it brings when… it touches our lives.
What is World Suicide Prevention day?
World Suicide Prevention Day is held each year on 10 September. It’s an annual awareness raising event organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This year’s theme is about connecting with others and letting people know that #ITSOKAYTOTALK.
Why is it important?
More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and ROI, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that ‘it’s ok to talk’ can make a huge difference.
What you can do
Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling. You can also join us on Twitter to spread the word.
When a person reaches a point where they are focused on taking their life, they’ve often lost sight of trying to find a way through their problems. This period usually only lasts a short while and often it doesn’t take a huge amount to bring someone back from that decision – something as simple as saying, ‘it’s ok to talk’ can be enough to move someone out of suicidal crisis.
How can people reach out?
It can be daunting to approach someone who is struggling to cope; you may not know what to say, how to start a difficult conversation or worry that you’ll make things worse. However, you don’t need to be an expert. Often, just asking if someone’s OK and letting them know you’re listening can give people the confidence to open up about how they’re feeling.
TV stars, sportsmen, comedians and public figures all over the world have shared pictures of themselves making an OK sign with their hands, alongside the hashtag #ITSOKAYTOTALK.
Now, the British Psychological Society have been working with Halifax rugby player Luke Ambler, who created the campaign and founded the Andy’s Man Club support movement for men, after losing his brother to suicide earlier this year, to push the message out well beyond the internet. Luke Ambler said:
“We didn’t know anything was wrong with Andy, and then he took his own life. I don’t want anyone to go through what we continue to go through, so we’re delighted to be working with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to get the message out that ‘it’s okay to talk’, to as many men as possible. If you’re struggling to cope, even if you think nobody will understand, take that first step, talk to someone, ring Samaritans, go and see a friend, speak to your GP. Your life matters.”
Statistics show that men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK.
Professor Peter Kindeman, BPS President said: “The success of “#ITSOKAYTOTALK” online shows that suicide affects everybody. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We need to make it easier for people to talk through difficult thoughts and feelings, but it’s also important that charities, organisations and agencies work harder and better together to tackle suicide in a unified, organised way. Together we can save lives.”
If you are concerned about someone dear to you who is at risk of taking their own life, you aren’t alone.
More than 800,000 people commit suicide globally every year and many more attempt it, the World Health Organization reported. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2012 among 15- to 29-year-olds, after accidents.