World Suicide Prevention Day is Saturday, September 10. Each September, the globe gathers to raise awareness on suicide prevention and honor those who were taken too soon by suicide.

Sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), this initiative aims to build an effective forum with collaboration among global partners and promoting evidence-based action to reduce suicide rates.

The tragic effects of suicide impact everyone around the world – no matter where you live. Here are some key statistics showing the global magnitude of suicide:

  1. Each year, more than 700,000 lives are lost around the world due to suicide.
  2. Over one in every 100 deaths were caused by suicide.
  3. Suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death globally among individuals ages 15-29.
  4. The global suicide rate is twice as high among men than women.
  5. The U.S. ranks 23rd among countries with the highest suicide rates.
  6. A previous suicide attempt is the biggest risk factor for suicide deaths.

Many citizens of the world experience adverse situations such as violence, abuse, loss, disaster, discrimination, isolation and more. These difficult and trying situations can increase instances of behavioral health disorders and in turn, are associated with suicidal behaviors.

Over the past few decades, the state of mental health across the globe has hit a significant point in history. The number of suicide deaths have risen by 20,000 over the past 30 years around the world.

With each nation suffering from rates of suicide, many countries are advocating for improved access to critical mental healthcare. The U.S. took a significant stride in preventing suicide in July 2022 by launching 988, the easy-to-dial three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. With the rollout of the new number, the U.S. started on a path to streamline critical care for those in crisis and decrease instances of suicide.

Although we must raise awareness all year long to make a change, World Suicide Prevention Day is a chance for everyone around the world to come together to save lives. This year, the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Creating Hope Through Action”.

“By encouraging understanding, reaching in, and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain. You can be the light.”

The IASP encourages all to be compassionate, supporting, and understanding to individuals who have experienced the pain of suicidal thoughts and losing a loved one to suicide. By coming together to listen and share, we can all make a difference and spark change.

If someone you love is experiencing thoughts of suicide, your support could truly save their life. Follow these five action steps to communicate with someone who may be suicidal to help them get the care they need and prevent suicide:

  1. Ask – Be transparent and ask your loved one if they have thoughts of suicide. Have a direct dialogue can help your loved one open about their emotional pain. Carefully listen to their answers and ask thoughtful follow-up questions.
  2. Be there – Calling or physically being with your loved one can greatly show your support. Following through with promises of being there for your loved one can improve your connection with them and prevent them from feeling isolated.
  3. Keep them safe –As difficult as it is to ask questions about your loved one’s suicidal thoughts, it can help keep them as safe as possible. Create a proactive plan to reduce access to lethal means to ensure they are out of immediate danger. Always call 911 if there is an imminent threat to their well-being.
  4. Help them connect – Establishing a safety plan and finding crisis care for a suicidal person is critical. Connect your loved one with resources such as the 988 Lifeline or other mental health professionals to help them get the support they need.
  5. Follow up – After you have the initial conversation and create an immediate safety plan, follow up with your loved one to see if they are well. A phone call, text, letter, or in-person visit with your loved one will remind them they are loved and cared for.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to get connected to crisis care immediately. You do not have to fight this alone.

By giving vital support to those who need it, we can truly make a change and prevent suicide worldwide. During this World Suicide Prevention Day, you can do your part by destigmatizing mental health issues and raising awareness for suicide prevention. With your help, the world could save millions of lives.

If you or a loved one are seeking mental health or substance use disorder treatment, we can help. Use our free Treatment Connection assessment tool to find state-vetted behavioral health treatment in your area.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material (collectively, “Information”) contained on this blog post are for informational purposes only. None of the Information is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog post.