The World Suicide Prevention Day
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), and
the World Health Organization (WHO) have cosponsored the annual World
Suicide Prevention Day on SEP-10 each year since 2003.
The theme in:
- 2009 was
"Suicide Prevention in Different Cultures."
- 2017 was "Take a minute, change a life."
- 2018 is "Working Together to Prevent Suicide."
According to their news release, the purpose of World Suicide
Prevention Day is:
"... to improve education about suicide, disseminate information,
decrease stigmatization and most importantly, raise awareness that suicide
is preventable." 1
The following is excerpted from their news
The magnitude of the problem:
Suicide is a leading cause of death for people worldwide, and one of the
three leading causes of death for young people under 25.
2 Every year, approximately one
million people die by suicide - one death every two minutes. The World Health
Organization estimates that by the year 2020, this annual toll of suicide deaths
will have risen to one and a half million, and suicide will represent 2.4% of
the global burden of disease.
Suicide deaths account for more than half of all violent deaths in the world
- more than all deaths from wars and homicides combined.
Every year, many millions more people make serious suicide attempts which,
while they do not result in death, require medical treatment and mental health
care, and reflect severe personal unhappiness or illness. Millions more people
the family members and close friends of those who die by suicide -- are bereaved
and affected by suicide each year, with the impact of this loss often lasting
for a lifetime. 3
Suicide exacts huge psychological and social costs, and the economic costs of
suicide to society (lost productivity, health and social care costs) are
estimated at many billions of dollars each year.
Because almost a quarter of suicides in the world are teenagers and young adults aged less
than 25 years (250,000 suicides each year), suicide is a leading cause of
premature death, accounting for more than 20 million years of healthy life lost.
Suicide is preventable:
Causes of suicide: During the last three decades we have learned a
great deal about the causes of this complex behavior. Suicide has biological,
cultural, social and psychological risk factors. People from socially and
economically disadvantaged backgrounds are at increased risk of suicidal
behavior. Childhood adversity and trauma, and various life stresses as an adult
influence risks of suicidal behavior. Serious mental illnesses, most commonly
depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, are associated
with increased risk of suicide. Diminished social interaction increases suicide
risk, particularly among adults and older adults.
Suicide can be prevented. Despite its often complex origins, suicide
can be prevented. Communities and societies that are well integrated and
cohesive have fewer suicides. Restricting access to methods of suicide (such as
firearms or pesticides) reduces suicides. Careful media reporting of suicide
prevents further suicides. Educating communities and health and social services
professionals to better identify people at risk of suicide, encourage them to
seek help, and providing them with adequate, sustained and professional care can
reduce suicides amongst people with mental illness. Providing adequate support
for people who are bereaved by suicide can reduce their risk of suicide.
Support for World Suicide Prevention Day:
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides an opportunity for all
sectors of the community ‐ the public, charitable organizations, communities,
researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers,
volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals ‐
to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and [World
Health Organization] (WHO) to focus public attention on the unacceptable
burden and costs of suicidal behaviors with diverse activities to promote
understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities. Those
activities may call attention to the global burden of suicidal behavior, and
discuss local, regional and national strategies for suicide prevention,
highlighting cultural initiatives and emphasizing how specific prevention
initiatives are shaped to address local cultural conditions.
Initiatives which actively educate and involve people are likely to be most
effective in helping people learn new information about suicide and suicide
prevention. Examples of activities which can support World Suicide Prevention
|Launching new initiatives, policies and strategies on World Suicide
|Holding conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures
|Writing articles for national, regional and community newspapers and
|Holding press conferences.|
|Placing information on your website.|
|Securing interviews and speaking spots on radio and television.|
|Organizing memorial services, events, candlelight ceremonies or walks to
remember those who have died by suicide.|
|Asking national politicians with responsibility for health, public health,
mental health or suicide prevention to make relevant announcements, release
policies or make supportive statements or press releases on WSPD.|
|Holding depression awareness events in public places and offering
screening for depression.|
|Organizing cultural or spiritual events, fairs or exhibitions.|
|Organizing walks to political or public places to highlight suicide
|Holding book launches, or launches for new booklets, guides or pamphlets.|
|Distributing leaflets, posters and other written information.|
|Organizing concerts, BBQs, breakfasts, luncheons, contests, fairs in
|Writing editorials for scientific, medical, education, nursing, law and
other relevant journals.|
|Disseminating research findings.|
|Producing press releases for new research papers.|
In the United States:
- National Suicide Prevention Week extends over the Monday through Sunday surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day.
- National Suicide Prevention Month extends over all of September.
Conflicting information about the suicide rate:
Suicide Prevention Australia claims that:
"The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. In Australia more than 2800 people die each year with latest figures (2016) telling us that 2,866 Australians took their own life. Recent research tells us that hundreds of Australians are impacted by each suicide death. Research also tells us that some 65,000 people attempt suicide each year and hundreds of thousands of people think of suicide." 5
If this data is correct, they reveal a little-discussed aspect of suicide. With 65,000 attempted suicides and only 2,866 completed suicides, only about one attempt in 23 results in death. This raises the question of how many people who did not die were disabled by the attempt. Some suicide methods can cause brain damage and other permanent disabilities.
- "Suicide Prevention in Different Cultures," International Association for
Suicide Prevention (IASP), at:
http://www.iasp.info/ This is a PDF file.
- Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.. There is one completed suicide about every 16 minutes in the country. See "Facts
- When a person commits suicide, close family members have a
significantly higher rate of committing suicide themselves.
- Other groups who are at greater risk for suicide are
gays and lesbians,
transgender persons and transsexuals, and native North Americans.
- "World Suicide Prevention Day," Suicide Prevention Australia, 2018-SEP-10, at: http://wspd.org.au/
|The Resources section of the IASP website initiatives and activities that
have been undertaken around the world on previous World Suicide Prevention
Days initiatives and activities that have been undertaken around the world on
previous World Suicide Prevention Days at:
|N. Farberow, Ed. "Suicide in Different Cultures,: University Park Press,
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store The book
appears to be out of print but may be available used at low cost.|
|Danuta Wasserman, & Camilla, Wasserman, "Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide
Prevention," Oxford University Press, (2009).
Read reviews or order this book|
|Articles in CRISIS, the journal of the International Association
for Suicide Prevention. See: http://
Copyright © 2009 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on
Original posting: 2009-SEP-11
Latest update: 2018-SEP-11
Source: IASP news release