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World Suicide Prevention Day 2020: History, Significance, And Why It’s The Need of Hour

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 to bring awareness regarding suicide and how to prevent suicide on a global scale. This came into existence in the year 2003, when the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in the year 2003 collaborated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH).

From that day onwards, many countries have joined hands. In 2011, almost 40 countries hosted awareness events to raise awareness on this day. According to studies, mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, OCD, anxiety disorder, insomnia have shown a higher rate of suicide. WHO’s suicide data collection says that close to 800,000 people die each year, due to suicide. The statistics by WHO in 2019 says that one person takes their life every 40 seconds.

The IASP works towards preventing suicidal behaviour amongst people, alleviating its effects, and they also provide a forum for people to contact and make distress calls.

Suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social and cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss. According to IASP, people who take their own lives represent a heterogeneous group, with unique, complex and multifaceted causal influences preceding their final act. Such heterogeneity presents challenges for suicide prevention experts. These challenges can be overcome by adopting a multilevel and cohesive approach to suicide prevention.

“For each suicide, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide,” says IASP.

Working together to prevent suicide: Theme of Suicide Prevention Day

This year’s theme focuses on a specific aspect of suicide. This theme aims to make suicide prevention more effective globally. This is the third year in a row that the WSPD has used this theme. The theme suggests, “We all have a role to play and together we can collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.”

This World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s pledge to lend emotional support to the one in need. There are several helplines for the same.