Today, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Find out about how this important awareness initiative is helping to prevent needless grief and devastation on an international scale.

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on 10th September.

Established in 2003, it’s an awareness day that brings together the co-operation and commitment of three organisations: The International Association for Suicide Prevention, the World Federation for Mental Health, both supported by the World Health Organisation.

As can be seen, this is an awareness day with some awesome backing and endorsement, reflecting the serious emotional and practical repercussions of what must surely be one of the most tragic ways to die.

It goes without saying that our home-grown support charity, The Samaritans, www.samaritans.org gets involved, too.

What’s It All About?

Look out for the promotion of World Suicide Prevention Day on TV, the radio and on social media.  Check out the Facebook page,

https://www.facebook.com/WorldSuicidePreventionGroup/

This is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charities, politicians, volunteers and those bereaved by suicide to focus our attention on the needs of people who may be at risk of taking their own lives and those of have tried and thankfully failed.

Different types of activities are organised to make us all sit up and take notice.  You may be hearing about press conferences, spiritual events, concerts and memorial services, for example.  There are going to be depression awareness events, too, offering screening for depression, a key pre-cursor to suicide.

It Touches Nearly All of Us

In 2017, over 6,000 people took their own lives in the UK and Ireland.  That’s 6,000 individuals, each with people who cared about them, who should still be alive today.  Their loss has left a winding trail of devastation.

Suicide Causes.  What We Know 

There are a number of risk factors. Financial instability and poverty appear to be a cause, along with the breakdown of a relationship, which can hit certain individuals very hard indeed.  Of course, the latter may lead to the former – a double hit in very hard circumstances.

Also, were you aware that in the UK, the highest suicide rate is men aged 45-49?  And that men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women?  These sad statistics appear to imply that masculinity itself, along with the idea of “what a real man is” could be contributing to the elevated suicide rates in this part of the population.

Maybe we’re projecting but the Samaritans are getting over themselves and telling it like it is.

This wonderful charity has produced reports and recommendations for our policymakers to ensure that national and local suicide prevention strategies target the people most at risk – men.

It’s all about talking about feelings.  Something that all of us could do more of!

Have YOU been affected by suicide? 

Someone you know, perhaps?  A colleague, friend, a friend of a friend, even a loved one?  Sadly, suicide is more common than we think.  Thousands of grieving families are left to pick up the pieces after the untimely demise of someone they love.  If you’ve lost someone this way, you experience a particular kind of grief.  You have become a “suicide survivor”, and we’d like to offer you our strongest sorrow and condolences.

The death of a loved one is always significant. Suicide is different, though.   Death is sudden, sometimes violent and often unexpected.  The person left behind has mixed emotions: grief, anger, confusion.  You’ll be searching for answers, too.

And guess what?  There IS stigma attached to suicide whether we like to admit it or not.

How are YOU feeling?

We’re not implying anything untoward but as a carer, life is far from easy.  You put other people first practically all the time and that takes its toll.  The body keeps score.

If you feel persistently down, or experience periods of hopelessness, do try to reach out to your friends and family if you can.  It really IS true that a problem shared is a problem halved.  If you feel isolated, make an appointment with your GP and ask for a referral for counselling and support.  Or, call our response line on 0300 028 8888 to find out about respite breaks or the wellbeing fund.

Do you have space in your life for a pet?  If so, do think about the comfort and company that a dog or cat could bring to your life.  Our small furry friends give us happiness, as well as something to focus on.

Don’t forget to get out of the house for fresh air and exercise when you can.  Set yourself some targets:  20 minutes a day of fast walking. Every day.  Then build it up a little.  Your spirits will lift, and you’ll start to anticipate your daily constitutionals with great pleasure!

Don’t suffer in silence.  Your life is valuable.  And you matter.