Every 45 seconds someone takes their own life.
In the UK, 6292 people died by suicide in 2020. When one person dies, 13 people are irrevocably harmed, and 135 people are directly impacted (source: PAPYRUS, Prevention of Young Suicide, 2020).
We know that approximately 75% of deaths by suicide are male, and it is thought that more women than men attempt suicide.
While we are familiar with the number of people who die by suicide, something that is rarely discussed is the number of people who make suicide attempts – which is thought to be 25 times the number that die by suicide (source: World Health Organisation, 2020)
The ripple effect of suicide is huge and therefore it is easy to see how suicide is something that affects us all – directly or indirectly.
Suicide is still a subject that can be very difficult to talk about – it brings up some very challenging feelings, and is surrounded by a lot of stigma. Stigma is something that affects people who experience thoughts of suicide themselves, those who have survived suicide attempts, family and friends of those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, and those that are bereaved by suicide.
Stigma is a huge barrier to people talking about how they are feeling, and to them getting help.
If we are to see a reduction in the number of people who die by suicide, and a reduction of the impact that suicide has on our community, we must break down the stigma that surrounds suicide – and create the conditions where it is safe for every person to talk about how they are feeling, and to ask for help.
Some of the statistics mentioned here are shocking. It is undeniably difficult to face suicide head on, and to challenge and break down stigma.
There is, though, and important message of hope here – most suicides are preventable.
Most people who think about suicide do not want to die – they no longer want to feel the way that they are feeling. Most people can be helped, and we can learn to spot the signs of suicide. This can be very hard for those that are bereaved by suicide and it is important to acknowledge that some people do not allow others the chance to help them.
For most people though, there is hope for recovery. There is help available. This is why it is so important that we continue to raise awareness around suicide and this is the purpose of World Suicide Prevention Day, 10th September 2022.
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) was established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO). The 10th of September each year focuses attention on the issue, reduces stigma and raises awareness among organizations, government, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented.
“Creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021 - 2023. This theme is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please talk to someone about how you are feeling and ask for help – there is help available and you do not have to struggle alone. Just talking to someone you trust, can be a powerful first step towards recovery.
The documents below address some myths about suicide and include some useful resources and organisation that can provide help and support. I've also included the details of our Suicide First Aid Training. This is a life-saving training suitable for everyone.
Claire Russell, CEO, Mental Health in Business