September 10, 2019 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide Prevention Day is a time to work together to prevent suicide. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), suicide prevention is a universal challenge. The goal of World Suicide Prevention Day is to spread awareness of the risk of suicide and suicide prevention activities.
The IASP encourages people to educate themselves about suicide and suicide prevention, including how to identify potential warning signs.
The theme of this year’s Suicide Prevention Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” The focus is on collaboration and the role that we can all play to help prevent suicide and address suicidal behavior.
The Importance of World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day was started in 2003. The organization partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) on this annual day that helps raise awareness about suicide and death by suicide.
According to a press release from the IASP, they chose the theme of “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” because it represents an essential element for global suicide prevention—collaboration. The IASP notes that everyone has a role to play in addressing the challenges of suicidal behavior.
Suicide remains among one of the top 20 most prevalent causes for death around the world, and in all age groups, which underscores the importance of suicide prevention.
World Suicide Prevention Day is important for raising awareness, but also to help combat the stigma that’s associated with suicide, suicidal behavior, and mental health problems in general.
Facts About Suicide
Suicide leads to 800,000 deaths annually, which is often one of the most startling suicide facts. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29 years old, according to suicide statistics from the World Health Organization. Other suicide facts and suicide statistics include:
- Every day an estimated 123 Americans die by suicide, and there is one death every 12 minutes by suicide in the United States
- Nearly 45,000 Americans lose their lives to suicide every year
- Men are 3.5 times more likely than women to die by suicide
- An estimated 250,000 people are suicide survivors every year
- There is one completed suicide for every 25 attempts
- The highest suicide rate in 2017 was among adults between the ages of 45 and 54, and the second-highest rate was among people 85 and older
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 15-29 years old
- In 2017, firearms were used in nearly 51% of all suicide deaths
- In high-income countries, 50% of those who commit suicide have major depressive disorder at the time of death
What You Can Do to Help
There are things we can all do to help prevent suicide. One way is by being educated on the topic and understanding how to identify the potential warning signs. Social isolation is a suicide risk factor, so reaching out to someone you’re concerned about and having a conversation can also go a long way.
Other things you can do to observe World Suicide Prevention Day include:
- Help remove the stigma by having conversations about suicide. Too often, people who are struggling with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts may feel ashamed to talk about it. It’s important to have these tough conversations to help cut through the stigma.
- Participate in an awareness event or other activity. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention regularly organizes community walks throughout the country.
- Learn the warning signs. Knowing what to look for can help save lives. If someone seems withdrawn, hopeless, or as if they have a loss of interest in activities, reach out to them.
- Reach out. There are certain steps you can follow to reach out to someone you believe could be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Engage the person, explore their situation and point of view, ask direct questions, and inquire why someone might be contemplating suicide if they say they are.
- Connect with resources. Understanding what resources are available, from hotlines to support groups, can help you help someone else when they need it.
Suicide Prevention Resources
The following are some suicide prevention resources:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
- The Trevor Project (LGBT crisis and suicide prevention hotline): 1-866-488-7386
- Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 or Text 838255
- Teen Line: 310-855-2673 or text TEEN to 839963
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder along with addiction, contact The Recovery Village to learn about treatment programs and options for co-occurring disorders.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “National Suicide Prevention Week.” Accessed August 15, 2019.
International Association for Suicide Prevention. “2019 World Suicide Prevention Day Brochure.” Accessed August 19, 2019.
SAVE. “Suicide Facts.” Accessed August 15, 2019.
Firestone, Lisa Ph.D. “5 Things We Can All Do to Help Stop Suicide.” Psychology Today, September 15, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2019.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “Suicide Statistics.” Accessed August 15, 2019.