World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) has been observed on the 10th of September every year since its inception in 2003. WSPD was an initiative created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to get people talking freely and to try and prevent suicide.
In years gone by, “over 300 activities in around 70 countries were reported to the IASP, including educational and commemorative events, press briefings and conferences, as well as Facebook and Twitter coverage.”
What’s happening this year?
This year the theme is “It’s okay to talk” and is a key message in trying to stop suicide. It’s about connecting with others and trying to let them know that there are people there for them, and that “It’s okay to talk” about their feelings.
People who are having suicidal thoughts are often feeling extremely depressed and that no-one cares about them. Even the tiniest of things can pick people like this up such as hearing from family or friends, feeling appreciated or just being able to talk to someone. Such a small effort by someone can make another person feel better about themselves and their lives.
This is what this day aims to help achieve.
Advice on how to reach out to people
The Samaritans website gives important advice on how to reach out to people.
“It can be daunting to approach someone who is struggling to cope; you may not know what to say, how to start a difficult conversation or worry that you’ll make things worse. However, you don’t need to be an expert. Often, just asking if someone’s OK and letting them know you’re listening can give people the confidence to open up about how they’re feeling.”
Suicide: The facts
Here are some key trends that were picked out in the Samaritans suicide report:
- More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world
- There were 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, in 2014.
- There were 6,122 suicides registered in the UK, in 2014. This corresponds to a suicide rate of 10.8 per 100,000 people (16.8 per 100,000 for men and 5.2 per 100,000 for women).
- The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at 26.5 per 100,000.
- The male suicide rate decreased in the UK (by 5.6%). England (by less than 1%), Wales (by 37.6%), Scotland (by 17.6%), Northern Ireland (by 10.2%) and the Republic of Ireland (by 6.4%) between 2013 and 2014.
- Female suicide rates increased in the UK (by 8.3%). England (by 14%), Scotland (by 7.8%) and the Republic of Ireland (by 14.7%) between 2013 and 2014. Female suicide rates decreased in Wales (by 38.2%) and Northern Ireland (by 17.7%).
- The female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005.
- The female suicide rate in the UK is at its highest since 2011.