World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10 2021

Content Warning: This post discusses suicide and content related to suicide prevention.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide. For each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose additional burdens and stressors for many, we all have a role to play in preventing suicide.

If you are worried about someone, what can you do? Here are a few tips from the World Health Organization’s #LetsTalk campaign:

  • It is okay to talk about suicide.
    • Asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide. It often helps people to feel understood.
  • Find an appropriate time and place to talk with the person you are worried about, let them know you are there to listen and support them.
    • Offer to help connect them with professional resources or accompany them to an appointment.
  • If you are worried about their immediate safety, seek help immediately by contacting emergency services.
    • If you are with the person physically, ensure that they do not have access to means of self-harm.
  • For more information on what you can do if you are worried about someone, visit the World Health Organization’s Q & A webinar on suicide prevention or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention resource page.

If you are an employer, health worker, school-based staff, media professional, emergency responder, or individual working in jails/prisons, WHO has created a range of educational materials for what you can do to help prevent suicide at your specific place of work.

If you are an individual who is grieving the loss of a loved one from suicide, we encourage you to seek out the resources listed in Dr. Pike’s recent Five on Friday.

Countries, regions, or communities interested in implementing suicide prevention strategies can refer to WHO’s LIVE LIFE guide.

If you are considering suicide or have thoughts of not wanting to live anymore, please reach out for help. You are not alone, and it is okay to talk about suicide. For individuals based in the U.S., please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255. A full list of emergency hotlines in different countries worldwide can be found here.