Globally, an estimated 703,000 people die by suicide each year among which 77% of the deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries (WHO 2022). These global suicide rates are a serious public health concern. Every life lost to suicide creates a devastating impact to families, communities, and nations.
To highlight this issue and raise awareness, September 10 is marked every year as the World Suicide Prevention Day. International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) established this day in 2003 in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to send the message that suicides are preventable through evidence-based action. IASP leads the global effort in preventing suicide and suicidal behavior and alleviating its effects.
As the convening organization, IASP has set the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year as “Creating Hope through Action”. ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling. We can act by reaching in to someone who may be in distress, encouraging understanding around the issue, and sharing our experiences in a safe way. Through our actions, we can also let people experiencing suicidal thoughts know that there is hope and that we want to support them.
Therefore, preventing suicide requires collective action from all of us if we are to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) target of reducing global suicide mortality by one-third by 2030. The WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 highlights suicide prevention as an important priority and recommends actions to prevent suicide not only from the health sector, but also from other sectors such as the media simultaneously. The plan also urges governments to develop and implement comprehensive national strategies for the prevention of suicide, with special attention to vulnerable groups.
IASP hopes for everyone’s involvement and active participation during this day. Together we can prevent suicide.