World Suicide Prevention Day 2020: Working together to prevent suicide

 What is the need?

As per WHO, worldwide about 800000 people die every year due to suicide (one death every 40 seconds) and for every suicide there are more than 20 people who attempt suicide every year. 

  • Suicide is the second major cause of death among young people 15-29 years of age. 
  • The most common methods of suicide are ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms globally. 
  • Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts on families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies.
  • Suicides are preventable &Communities play a critical role in suicide prevention. 
  • People can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide

When is it celebrated?

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed every year on 10th September. It is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The aim of this day is to create awareness among people about the fact that suicide can be prevented. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important to make progress in preventing suicide. 

What is the theme?

Theme for WSPD 2020 is same as last year’s “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” as it highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention- ‘collaboration’. Each of us can contribute in preventing suicide just by being compassionate and reaching out to others.

How can we prevent suicide?

We all as a family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments have a role to play and together we can collectively act for the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today. By raising awareness about the causes of suicide, warning signs for suicide and care for those who are in distress we can help to prevent suicides.

What are the warning signs? 

There are certain warning signs that include: 

  • Hopelessness 
  • Uncontrolled anger 
  • Seeking revenge 
  • Acting reckless or 
  • Engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking 
  • Feeling trapped like there’s no way out 
  • Increased alcohol or drug use 
  • Withdrawing from friends, family & society
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Unable to sleep or 
  • Sleeping all the time and 
  • Dramatic mood changes. 

What should we do?

“If you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them, listen with an open mind and offer your support”

  • The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope. 
  • You can sit with them, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to tell their story. This small gesture works a lot & goes a long way.
  • Taking a minute to reach out to someone in your community – a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger – could change the course of another’s life
  • Take a minute to notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues.
  • Take a minute to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different.
  • Take a minute to find out what help is available for both you and others

Significance during Covid-19 pandemic:

The COVID-19 outbreak is emotionally challenging for everyone. The outcomes of isolation and quarantine, increase in suicide ideation and behaviour among at-risk populations can be seen. Hence, suicide prevention efforts should be integrated into the overall reaction programme for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.


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