Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Suicide prevention: Creating hope through action

Published:Wednesday | September 8, 2021 | 12:08 AM

One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. It can affect every one of us. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on the friends and families left behind.

However, by raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally. It is an awareness day observed on September 10 every year.

‘Creating Hope Through Action’ is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.

Preventing suicide is often possible and you are a key player in its prevention. Through action, you can make a difference to someone in their darkest moments – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, friend, colleague or neighbour. We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are complex. The factors and causes that lead to suicide are complex and many. No single approach works for everyone. What we do know is that there are certain factors and life events that may make someone more vulnerable to suicide and mental-health conditions. Anxiety and depression can also be contributing factors.

Feel trapped

People who are suicidal may feel trapped or like a burden to their friends, family and those around them, and thus feel like they are alone and have no other options. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to increased feelings of isolation and vulnerability. By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them.

You can help give someone hope by showing that you care. All of us can play a role, no matter how small. We may never know what we do that makes a difference. We all can reach in and ask somebody. You do not need to tell them what to do or have solutions, but simply making the time and space to listen to someone about their experiences of distress or suicidal thoughts can help. Small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling.

The insights and stories of people with a lived experience of suicide can be extremely powerful in helping others understand suicide better and encourage support and for individuals to reach out for help themselves. It is really important that the person sharing their story knows how to do so in a way that is safe for them and for those who hear their story.

Individuals sharing experiences of being bereaved through suicide, and how they came to live their ‘new normal’, can help others experiencing suicidal loss make sense of the devastation of suicide and believe they will be able to live through and with the loss.

– SOURCE: International Association for Suicide Prevention