September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge across the globe. It takes work to prevent suicide, which is why this year’s theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”.
Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths worldwide, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. Each year, 600 Kiwis take their own life, which is the second highest overall rate in the developed world.
Most people who attempt suicide don’t want to die – they just want their pain to end or can’t see another way out of their situation. Support from people who care about them, and connection with their own sense of culture, identity and purpose, can help them to find a way through.
Preventing suicide is often possible and you are a key player in its prevention! You can make a difference – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour.
There are many things that you can do daily, and also on World Suicide Prevention Day, to prevent suicidal behaviour. You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.
Joining together is critical to preventing suicide. Research suggests that suicide prevention efforts will be much more effective if they span multiple levels and incorporate multiple interventions.
Preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.
If you’re worried about your own or somebody else’s safety, you can do the following:
- Call your local mental health crisis assessment team or go with them to the emergency department (ED) at your nearest hospital. Click here for a full list.
- If they are an immediate physical danger to themselves or others, call 111.
- Stay with them until support arrives.
- Remove any obvious means of suicide they might use, eg, guns, medication, car keys, knives, rope.
- Try to stay calm and let them know you care.
- Keep them talking: listen and ask questions without judging.
- Make sure you are safe.
For further information and resources about what to look out for, how to prevent suicide and how to support someone who might be suicidal, head to the Ministry of Health website here.