Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day was founded on September 10, 2003, as an International Association for Suicidal Prevention (IASP) initiative and has been held annually since.  World Suicide Prevention Day came about as a way to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, to increase education about suicide, to create awareness about suicide, and in hopes of diminishing the stigmatization surrounding suicide.  Events and activities take place globally on World Suicide Prevention Day. Many of these activities are celebrated in various countries around the world.  In 2011, it was estimated that 40 countries held awareness events to mark the occasion.

According to the IASP, suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among those 30-49 years old globally in 2012 and is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 year old age group globally as well.  Overall, in 2012, it is estimated that for every adult suicide death there were more than 20 other people who made suicide attempts.  Did you know that 20% of suicide deaths in the United States every year are military veterans?

Did you also know that every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds and the number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined?  The psychological pain that leads each of these individuals to take their lives is unimaginable.  In 2012, suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 15th leading cause of death.

There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.  People who commit suicide exhibit at least one of the warning signs, either by what they say or what they do.  The more warning signs they exhibit, the greater the risk is that they will kill themselves.  Also, the suicide risk is greater if the behavior is new or has noticeably increased, especially if it is related to a painful event, loss, or change.


  • Always talking or thinking about death, killing themselves, or having no reason to live.
  • They talk about being a burden to others, seeking revenge, feeling trapped, or unbearable pain.
  • There is increased alcohol or drug use. 
  • Searching for a way to kill themselves, like buying a gun or searching online.
  • Clinical depression ~ deep sadness, loss of interest, sleeping or eating too much or too little and it appears to be getting worse. 
  • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights.
  • Losing interest in things they used to care about.
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless.
  • Giving away their personal belongings, putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or changing a will. 
  • Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out." 
  • A sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy.
  • Visiting or calling people to say good-bye.


  • Take it seriously.
  • Do NOT leave them alone.
  • Have them call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Help them remove lethal items like firearms and drugs.
  • Call or escort them to an emergency room, counseling service, or psychiatrist.
  • In an emergency, call 911.

My research for this blog came from the following websites: