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World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September, 2016

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. The tragic ripple effect means that there are many, many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone who has tried to take his or her own life. And this is happening in spite of the fact that suicide is preventable. ‘Connect, communicate, care’ is the theme of the 2016 World Suicide Prevention Day. These three words are at the heart of suicide prevention day 2016.

Connect

Fostering connections with those who have lost a loved one to suicide or have been suicidal themselves is crucial to furthering suicide prevention efforts. Although every individual suicide is different, there are some common lessons to be learned. Those who have been on the brink of suicide themselves can help us understand the complex interplay of events and circumstances that led them to that point, and what saved them or helped them to choose a more life-affirming course of action.

Communicate

Open communication is vital if we are to combat suicide. In many communities, suicide is shrouded in silence or spoken of only in hushed tones. We need to discuss suicide as we would any other public health issue if we are to dispel myths about it and reduce the stigma surrounding it. This is not to say that we shouldn’t exercise necessary caution; we don’t want to normalise suicide either. Careful, considered messages about suicide and its prevention are warranted, as is an awareness of how different groups of individuals may receive and interpret this information.

Care

All the connecting and communicating in the world will have no effect without the final ingredient – care. We need to make sure that policy-makers and planners care enough about suicide prevention to make it a priority, and to fund it at a level that is commensurate with its significance as a public health problem.
We need to make sure that clinicians and other service providers care enough about it to make suicide prevention their core business. And we need to make sure that communities care enough about it to be able to identify and support those who may be at heightened risk.
Most of all, we need to ensure that we are caring ourselves. We need to look out for others who may be struggling, and let them tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Those who have been affected by suicide have much to teach us in this regard.

Connect, communicate and care on World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th, join with others around the world who are working towards the common goal of preventing suicide. Check in on someone you may be concerned about, and start a caring conversation with them, asking them how they’re going. Investigate ways of connecting with others who are trying to prevent suicide in your community, your country, or internationally.

At Catholic Care we provide support to children, young people and their families who may be experiencing emotional problems through our Schools and Family Social Work Service. We also provide safe and supportive housing services for adults with mental-health and complex needs issues.

For more information https://www.iasp.info/wspd/