World Suicide Prevention Day falls on 10 September when communities, organisations, and groups join together to raise awareness of suicide and how we can try to prevent it taking lives. It is the biggest killer of under 35s and, tragically, over 300 school children are lost to suicide every year. However, research shows that with appropriate early intervention and support, lives can be saved.
The prevalence of this issue means there are few who haven’t been affected by suicide, whether that’s ourselves, family members or friends. One in five of us think about suicide in our lifetimes – you don’t have to suffer from a mental illness to be susceptible to suicidal thoughts; social and cultural factors can contribute to these feelings and nobody is exempt from needing help or support during tough times.
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is Creating Hope Through Action, and it seeks to highlight the importance of ensuring people feel confident and equipped to connect with, and support those who may be struggling. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to get close to someone going through a hard time. Although you may not recognise the impact of your actions, it can be very simple small acts or connections which turn out to be lifesavers. Perhaps in the past we’ve been wary of wading into emotional waters, but research consistently shows that by ‘reaching in’ and giving time and space to others a feeling of hope can be restored. It could be as simple as eye contact and a sincere ‘how are you today?’ followed by a pause to allow time to answer. The feeling of invisibility often experienced by those living with depression can be alleviated by the awareness that they are seen, that someone has recognised that they, too, exist.
Recovery is possible and there are lots of fantastic charities and organisations providing support to those who need it. Raising awareness is key, as is dispelling any outdated stigma around both suicide itself, and around asking for help.
Below you can find relevant links on ways that you can help someone you might be worried about. Keep an eye on our social media channels for further updates.
Twitter and Instagram, @ox_magazine
Facebook, OX Magazine
Above all, the most important thing you can do is to reach out and talk to each other.
Links + Charities:
- Papyrus UK - Prevention of young suicide.
- Mental Health Foundation
- Survivors of Bereavement of Suicide - Emotional and practical support and local groups for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide
- Switchboard - Listening services, information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
- Carers UK - Advice and support for anyone who provides care.
- Stay Alive App - App with help and resources for people who feel suicidal or are supporting someone else.