Something Needs To Happen
The word suicide isn’t exactly taboo, but it’s a difficult one to hear. Oftentimes it’s even harder to talk about. People tend to skirt around the word, as if they’re afraid that the mention of it will lead the person into committing the act. Someone says it and everyone in the room gets quiet, maybe they shift their gaze to the person sitting next to them to gauge their reaction before displaying their own.
As of 2014, more than 800,000 people die from suicide each year—around one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.
We need to do better.
September 10th is the day the world stops and lends a hand to those in desperate need of something to hold onto.
As a society, we’ve been conditioned to view mental health as something very personal. The mindset seems to be something like “to emote is to show weakness.” Often people are going through something and they don’t feel as though they can share their fears.
In case no one has ever told you, allow me to be the first: vulnerability does not equate to weakness.
Therefore, in order to help the greatest number of people, a line of dialogue must be opened.
What’s Significant About September 10th?
World Suicide Prevention Day was first organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). They are able to promote awareness about suicide, mental illness associated with suicide, as well as methods of suicide prevention. Organizations such as IASP and World Health Organizations (WHO) play a key role in orchestrating these events.
The day can include any of the following:
- The launch of new government initiatives in relation to preventing suicide
- Conferences, educational seminars, or public lectures on the topic
- Social media posts calling attention to the issue
- Memorial services or candlelight vigils to remember those who have died by suicide
It can also include the organization of spiritual or cultural events, fairs, and exhibitions as well as training courses about suicide and depression awareness.
How Can I Help?
It’s difficult to say how World Suicide Prevention Day will look this year given the current state of the world, but you can still help. The most important thing is to get the word out there. Take to social media and share a link on the topic, educate yourself through TedTalks or personal accounts, and don’t shy away from the topic if a loved one reaches out for your help.
They may be grasping blindly for something to hold onto, and you can be that hand that reaches out to hold them steady.
That being said:
What To Do When Extra Help is Needed
It’s possible your friend may reach a point when they need more help than you can give, and that’s okay. The important thing to remember is your friend needs help, and you can do that for them:
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-622-HELP (4357))
- a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-days-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service also provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
- Crisis Text Line at 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- Not in the United States? The Intentional Association for Suicide Prevention can link you to hotlines and other resources in your country.