World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Various events and activities are held during this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
What do people do?
World Suicide Prevention Day gives organizations, government agencies and individuals a chance to promote awareness about suicide, mental illnesses associated with suicide, as well as suicide prevention. Organizations such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and World Health Organization (WHO) play a key role in promoting this event.
Events and activities for World Suicide Prevention Day include:
- The launch of new government initiatives to prevent suicide.
- Conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures.
- Media programs promoting suicide awareness and prevention.
- Memorial services or candlelight ceremonies to remember those who died from suicide.
- Organizing cultural or spiritual events, fairs or exhibitions.
- Launches of publications about suicide awareness and prevention.
- Training courses about suicide and depression awareness.
Many of these initiatives are celebrated in various countries worldwide. Some of these events and activities are held at a local level, while others are nation-wide. Many communities around the world reaffirm their commitment to suicide prevention on World Suicide Prevention Day.
Nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily, according to WHO. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. About one million people die by suicide each year. Suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death which is influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through worldwide responses that address these main risk factors. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.
World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is annually held on September 10 each year as an IASP initiative. WHO co-sponsors this event. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to:
- Raise awareness that suicide is preventable.
- Improve education about suicide.
- Spread information about suicide awareness.
- Decrease stigmatization regarding suicide.
WHO and IASP work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized. WHO’s role is to build political action and leadership to develop national responses to prevent suicide, strengthen national planning capacity to establish the core building blocks of such a national response, and build the national capacities to implement these responses.