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World Suicide Prevention Day

  • September 10, 2018

World Suicide Prevention Day is held every year on the 10th of September. It is an annual awareness-raising event organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Why is Suicide Prevention Day important?

The WHO published that over 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.

Therefore, it is important to reach out to people who are going through a difficult time as it can often save their life. Feeling suicidal is a result of a person feeling low, worthless and think that no-one cares for them. So, small things such as hearing from a friend or family member, being listened to or being told that ‘it is okay to talk’, either to a friend or a healthcare professional.

It is important to remember that doctors are also at an incredibly high risk for mental health. Between 2011 and 2015, 430 healthcare professionals within the UK took their own lives. The NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), is the only confidential service that offers doctors a range of assessments, treatment and case-management for all mental health problems. So, if you are a doctor who believes a colleague needs support please keep reading to find out ways you can help them.

What are the signs of someone feeling suicidal?

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional and physical)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often

Risk Factors of Suicide

Suicide does not discriminate against the type of person you are. People of all genders, ages and ethnicities can be at risk. Suicidal behaviour is very complex and there is no single cause. Various factors can cause someone to make a suicide attempt but people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics including and not limiting:

  • Depression or other mental disorders
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual
  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behaviour, such as that of family members or peers

You should note that suicidal thoughts are not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention and should not be ignored.

Action steps to helping someone who is suffering from severe emotional pain:

  1. Be there – Listen carefully and learn what the person is thinking and feeling if they reveal that they are feeling suicidal talking about it with them will reduce their chances of going through with it.
  2. Keep them safe – Reducing a person’s access to highly dangerous items or places is an important part of suicide prevention
  3. Encouraging them to talk – Try and encourage them to call a helpline or contact someone the person might turn to for support, for example, a particular friend, family member or religious figure
  4. Encourage positive lifestyle changes – This includes a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, getting out into the sun or nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is fundamental to mental health as it releases endorphins, relieves stress and promotes emotional well-being.

Remember – tomorrow needs you because you matter to someone who loves you.

Please note that this article is just a guide, if you are someone else you know is feeling suicidal please contact a professional help service.

NHS Choices – Suicide



References (2018). NIMH » Suicide Prevention. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2018].


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