What is World Suicide Prevention Day 2022?

suicide prevention

World Suicide Prevention Day encourages organisations, governments, and individuals to raise awareness about mental illness, social factors associated with suicide, and suicide prevention.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 1 million people die by suicide each year – that is an estimated 3000 people a day. Figures reveal that for every person that dies by suicide, 20 more will attempt to end their lives. In the UK alone, the latest figures from Samaritans reveal that 4,912 suicide deaths were registered in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to increased feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and vulnerability due to isolation and economic uncertainty. Samaritans now report around 7,000 calls a day from people seeking emotional support for suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, there are predictions that the pressure and stress caused by the cost-of-living crisis may plunge people further into despair, meaning that it is critical to take immediate and decisive action to assist those who are struggling.

Despite the principles behind the slogan ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ playing a pivotal role in changing the narratives around mental health and suicide, the truth is that they are still widely stigmatised subjects. This stigma plunges thousands of people into shame, guilt, isolation, and silence.

How can you help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts?

This year’s theme, ‘Creating Hope Through Action,’ is a reminder that suicide is preventable, not inevitable. It emphasises that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire the belief that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to people that are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

When someone is having suicidal thoughts, it can be hard to get through to them. They may feel removed from the world and their own feelings or seem distant and preoccupied. They may take some time to reply to messages or calls or take a while to open up about their feelings. However, asking someone directly whether they are considering suicide can give them the confidence to tell you about their struggles and the way they feel.

It is normal to feel some apprehension or anxiety about asking someone if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts, but asking could just be what saves their life.

When someone tells you that they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it is important to take them seriously. Contrary to popular belief, you do not actually have to be an expert to help someone. Sometimes just being there to listen and show your concern can go a long way in helping them work through what they are going through.  Tell them they’re not a burden and that they can always turn to someone if they need help.

Every suicide is a tragedy, not just for the victim, but for their loved ones. It is important to develop national responses to suicide prevention, to implement these responses effectively, and to continue pushing for mental health awareness to create a more compassionate society.

Who can you contact if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts?

Samaritans
You can call, email, write them a letter or download their self-help app to help you keep track of how you’re feeling and stay safe in a crisis.

Website: Contact Us | Samaritans
Call: 116 123

Childline
For children and young people under the age of 19.

Website: Childline | Childline
Call: 0800 1111

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
For men. Phone lines open from 5pm to midnight every day.

Website: Homepage | Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) (thecalmzone.net)
Call: 08500 58 58 58

Papyrus
For people under 35. Phone lines open from 9am-10pm (Mon-Fri) and 2pm to 10pm (Sat-Sun).

Website: Papyrus UK Suicide Prevention | Prevention of Young Suicide (papyrus-uk.org)
Call: 0800 068 41 41