Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.  It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.  This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social and cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss. People who take their own lives represent a heterogeneous group, with unique, complex and multifaceted causal influences preceding their final act. Such heterogeneity presents challenges for suicide prevention experts. These challenges can be overcome by adopting a multilevel and cohesive approach to suicide prevention.  Learn more about World Suicide Prevention Day here…

Suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility. No single discipline or level of societal organization is solely responsible for suicide prevention; individuals in many roles and at all levels of community/society and government can and should contribute to the prevention of suicide related behaviours. Suicide prevention therefore requires collaboration based on equality where no discipline or stakeholder is privileged over another.

Talking about suicide makes a difference. Language is key to caring, understanding and non­‐judgementally. When talking about suicide or suicide related behaviours, the language of hope and comfort that helps to avoid shame excludes the words “committed”, “successful suicide” or “failed suicide attempt”. Instead using terms such as “died by suicide”, “suicide attempt” are preferred. Suicide prevention is aided by addressing the stigma of suicide and mental illness.  Learn more about suicide prevention here…

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