World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and the theme this year is “Creating Hope Through Action.” The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) said it’s a pertinent call to urge people towards action; that we should all feel equipped, supported and inspired to act as we try to prevent more suicides around the world.

Today provides the opportunity for people across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.

In the UK, the Samaritans and other mental health charities do what they can to raise awareness about suicide. It is particularly important this year because of the very difficult 18 months everyone around the world has faced.

The IASP said it wanted to “create a social movement of preventative action” and we can all play a role in raising awareness and taking preventative action.

The Samaritans urges everyone to share the things that they do which helps them feel hopeful when they’re going through a difficult time.

These could be going for a coffee with a good friend, taking a walk in the fields and letting the wind blow everything away or going for a run along the seafront.

The charity also suggests that anyone who is struggling can write their thoughts down to stay safe in a crisis.

In the UK, men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. In the Republic of Ireland, the rate is four times higher among men than women.  While there has been a reduction in the number of people completing suicide over the last ten years, the numbers are still worryingly high.  World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.

The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) are sharing thoughts and reflections on the complicated idea of ‘hope’ in suicide prevention, including what brings people hope, struggles with hope and hopelessness, and projects that can build hope.You can explore those here.

What can you do?

Volunteer your time – Charities such as the Samaritans are always looking for volunteers across its 201 branches throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Take time to reach out to someone in your community – A family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger could change the course of another’s life

Look out for those who are not coping – Warning signs of suicide include: hopelessness, rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family & society, anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time and dramatic mood changes.

You don’t need to have all the answers – It is important to remember, there is no specific formula. Individuals in distress are often not looking for specific advice. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are suicidal – The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it. Listening to someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope.

Take time to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different. By stepping closer and reaching in we can encourage those with suicidal thoughts to reach

Take time to find out what help is available for both you and others.

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!

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