We observe World Suicide Prevention Day each year on September 10. It’s a growing problem and the numbers tell a shocking story. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s about 800,000 people worldwide every year — although some estimates put that number closer to 1 million.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and for every suicide that results in death, there are as many as 40 attempted suicides. What we know for sure is that there’s a lot to live for. Check out more information at National Suicide Prevention Month.
World Suicide Prevention Day timeline
"Public health priority"
The first WHO World Suicide Report, “Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative,” aimed to make suicide prevention a high priority on the global public health agenda.
- September 10, 2003
First World Suicide Prevention Day was held
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Suicide Prevention organized the first World Suicide Prevention Day.
IASP is founded
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) started in Vienna.
How to Observe World Suicide Prevention Day
Stretch out your hand to someone who may need help. It's widely known that certain behaviors indicate the possibility of suicide. We can all learn the warning signs of suicidal "ideation." If we spot them early enough, we can take action.
Talking about this issue is an important first step in ridding society of the idea that mental health issues should remain hidden. On World Suicide Prevention Day, host or simply attend a panel discussion on how mental problems intensify thoughts of suicide.
Search for resources
World Suicide Prevention Day provides lots of resources for people to learn more about the reasons for suicide and how to prevent them. At your local library, there are countless books, films, and events to get you pointed in the right direction. Knowledge is not only power — knowledge can save someone's life.
5 Sobering Suicide Facts
It's part of a mental health emergency
1 in 15 American adults suffer from depression but the good news is that 80-90% of people respond positively to treatment if depression is correctly diagnosed.
Older people are more likely to die from suicide
Suicide is most common among people between the ages of 45 and 64.
Men complete suicides more often
Still, women are more likely to make an attempt.
Early detection is key
That's why, as WHO points out, "prevention efforts must be comprehensive and integrated as no single approach alone can make an impact."
The clock is ticking
Just about every 12 minutes someone kills themselves in America.
Why World Suicide Prevention Day is Important
Suicide affects all of us
Many people know somebody who has taken their own life. Still others know someone who has lost a friend or family member. World Suicide Prevention Day gives us time to reflect on the value of life and that no matter how bad things seem, there's always hope.
With awareness comes action
One of the main goals of World Suicide Prevention Day is "to increase awareness about suicidal behaviors and how to effectively prevent them," according to WHO. Contact your local suicide prevention hotline if you have a friend who's confided about having suicidal thoughts or you see a social media post about someone's intentions. Take action.
It shines a spotlight on mental health issues
World Suicide Prevention Day is a reminder that society needs consistent and increasing advocacy for mental health resources so that people struggling with mental health disorders can find the help they need. If you live in the United States, learn the signs a person shows when thinking about committing suicide by finding out more on the National Suicide Prevention Month website.