Suicide Prevention Week – September 5-11, 2021

September5–11

National Suicide Prevention Week, which begins on September 5 and ends on September 11 this year, is an annual campaign observed in the United States to educate and inform the general public about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. It also aims to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance because going to therapy should be as normalized as going to the gym.

History of Suicide Prevention Week

The American Association of Suicidology sponsors National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) activities. Since 1975, NSPW awareness events are held throughout the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on September 10.

Although suicide awareness activities started in the 1950s, the history of suicide itself goes back to the 1700s. The act of suicide is also prominently mentioned in ancient legend and history. Ajax the great killed himself in the Trojan War and Lucretia’s suicide around 510 B.C. initiated the revolt that displaced the Roman Kingdom.

Attitudes towards suicide have varied over the years through the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods with some supporting the act in cases when people were afflicted with a disease and some denying that suicide was a crime. It was not until the 1950s that suicide prevention activities in the U.S started.

Suicide Prevention Week timeline

1958
First Suicide Prevention Centre

The first suicide prevention center in the United States opens in Los Angeles, California.

1968
American Association of Suicidology

A nonprofit organization advocating for suicide prevention is established by Edwin S. Shneidman.

1990s
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

A national strategy is established, using the United Nations guidelines for the prevention of suicide.

1999
Reno Conference

The Reno Conference is viewed as the founding event of the modern suicide prevention movement.

Suicide Prevention Week FAQs

What is the most suicidal month?

It is assumed that the suicidal rate is higher in dark and cold months of winter however, studies show that Suicide rates peak during early summer and late spring.

Which country is the most suicidal?

Lithuania is currently among the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world.

How many people commit suicide every year?

Almost 800,000 people die every year due to suicide, which means one death every 40 seconds, according to the WHO.

How to Observe Suicide Prevention Week

  1. Raise awareness

    One of the most helpful and effective ways we can observe Suicide Prevention Week is by raising awareness of it. We need to reduce the stigma around it and raise awareness so that more and more people can reach out for help.

  2. Educate yourself

    The best thing we can do is to learn more about it. We need to educate ourselves and facilitate proactive prevention in our communities so that we can shatter the silence around our mental health.

  3. Look out for others

    Most of the people suffering from poor mental health do not reach out for help for fear of being judged or misunderstood. So we need to look out for others and check for warning signs. We need to help people feel heard and understood.

5 Facts About Assisted Suicide

  1. Legalize euthanasia

    The first country that legalized euthanasia was the Netherlands in 2001.

  2. Worldwide euthanasia

    10 countries have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide.

  3. Hippocratic Oath

    Despite taking the Hippocratic Oath, doctors perform euthanasia in certain circumstances.

  4. Euthanasia is not always painless

    Some doctors euthanize a patient through carbon monoxide, the use of plastic bags to suffocate them, or starve them.

  5. Euthanasia in a royal family

    King George V was suffering from cardiorespiratory failure and was given drugs to be euthanized.

Why Suicide Prevention Week is Important

  1. It helps prevent suicide

    We can save plenty of lives by raising awareness this week, reaching out to those affected by suicide, and connecting individuals with suicidal thoughts to treatment services.

  2. Reduce stigma around mental health

    By spreading awareness during Suicide Prevention Week, the stigma around mental health has reduced a great deal and most people nowadays are not ashamed to ask for help.

  3. It fosters compassion in people

    Gaining knowledge about this week is helping people learn to empathize, be compassionate, and come together as a community to educate and support each other.

Suicide Prevention Week dates

YearDateDay
2022September 4Sunday
2023September 10Sunday
2024September 8Sunday
2025September 7Sunday