9/10 is World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide occurs 1 in every 40 seconds, which is higher than the number of death from natural disaster and homicide.

Suicide is a serious phenomenon and World Health Organization (WHO) decided to dedicate September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day. On the morning of September 8th, WHO initiated a worldwide live Facebook chat to discuss and answer questions about suicide and suicide prevention.

“For every death from suicide, each person has made 20 attempts on average.”

Dr. Shekhar, Director of WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, led the Q&A session and emphasized that suicide can be prevented.

Watch the complete Facebook chat video here:

Here are some questions he covered:

Q: What can I do to prevent suicide among my family members, friends, or colleagues?

A: Look out for some of the common signs and symptoms such as talking about death and suicide, depressed and pessimistic behavior, and inability to carry out daily duties. If you notice anyone with a high risk of committing or attempting suicide, you can

  1. Talk to them. It is a misconception that talking about suicide will trigger more suicidal thoughts. Often times, talking about it helps the sufferers.
  2. Accompany them so they are less lonely.
  3. Seek for immediate help if needed, such as contacting the emergency hotline or calling a professional.
Q. How do I offer help when someone is attempting suicide? What should I say?

A: Talk in confidence so that the person can confide in you. It is also very important that the person is close to you to talk about their personal and intimate thoughts. Make sure the person knows that there is a confidentiality and that you will not be sharing this with any other people.

No problem can be solved in one sitting. Make sure you are there to provide help for over a period of time. Sometimes, professional help may be needed if you feel that there is an immediate danger.

Q. Can exercise help people with suicidal thoughts?

A: Physical exercise is good for both physical health and mental health. People who exercise regularly have less chance of becoming depressed and having suicidal thoughts. However, people who are already depressed may struggle to exercise. Even if it’s a small activity for a short period of time, constant effort to engage in physical activity will keep your mind focused and divert from any negative thoughts.

Q. What can governments do to prevent suicide?

A: Government has a very important role amongst citizens. There should be a multi-sectorial strategy in suicide prevention among Departments of Labor, Social Welfare, Education and more. For example, public health intervention can be effective in suicide prevention: 1/3 of suicide occurs from ingestional pesticides that are normally used for agriculture practice. The government can prevent suicide through decreasing access to dangerous substance like pesticides, illegal drugs, and more. The government can also strengthen the healthcare sector to encourage earlier diagnosis of mental health and look out for people who have already attempted suicide.

Each suicide is one too many. No government should be complacent, even if the suicide rate is low.

This post was written by Becky Moon. Please email becky@subconscious.org with any questions.