World Suicide Prevention Day
When is World Suicide Prevention Day?
World Suicide Prevention Day occurs every September 10th. The purpose is to raise awareness about the causes of suicide, as well as the subsequently devastating effects on the lives of others. This holiday also aims to increase awareness for resources available in the prevention of suicide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that suicide claims over one million lives worldwide every year.
Suicide is the number one type of preventable premature death. While suicide itself depends on the actions of individuals who commit it, there are many causes that lead to such consequences. Mental health illnesses, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are common causes. This is especially the case when mental health diseases are left untreated. Other causes of suicide are attributed to other events in life, such as despair and hopelessness that may be linked to a loss of a loved one, bullying, job losses or financial ruin.
Suicides are often highlighted in the news in industrialized nations – this can lead to the misconception that suicides are more prevalent in western countries. However, it’s this misconception that is partially to blame for suicides that happen in other parts of the world. Suicide happens everywhere; failure to acknowledge this fact only increases such incidents.
World Suicide Prevention Day was enacted by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in 2003. Since then, it has occurred every September 10th. WHO also recognizes this event and is a co-sponsor. Together, the two organizations have used this holiday as a tool to help prevent suicides around the world.
Since its establishment, World Suicide Prevention Day has given people the information needed to take action in their communities. While preventing suicide is a major key component, political action is also necessary in eliminating the stigma surrounding it. Since the founding of the holiday, WHO has worked even harder with national leaders of governments and organizations to change the way suicide is approached in communities.
Prevention and Observation
World Suicide Prevention Day isn’t so much a celebrated holiday; it’s more of a date designated for worldwide observation over this highly preventable cause of death. WHO and the IASP also utilizes this holiday as an opportunity to educate others about the facts as suicide. Many of these facts include techniques that help enable individuals fight against suicide, whether this applies to the prevention in others, or to the self.
The IASP also works hard to decrease stigma surrounding suicide. In many nations, suicide attempts are regarded as crimes, and patients are punished as such. However, the criminalization of suicide worsens the problem. Educating communities not to regard mental health issues as crimes may decrease the incidence of suicide.
For some individuals, World Suicide Prevention Day is also a date of reflection. Many people are affected by the aftermath of suicide every year. For every suicide there are victims that consist of family, friends and co-workers who are left behind in the wake of such tragedies. Recovering patients who may have once attempted suicide may also reflect on this holiday and savor the fact that they didn’t go through with the act.