Suicide Prevention Day10th September 2020
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which marks a global commitment to prevent suicide and encourage an open discussion about mental health. While progress is being made to break down stigmas, there is still a huge amount of work to do.
Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend, or colleague. For each suicide, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.
In the UK, men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. In the Republic of Ireland, the rate is four times higher among men than women. While there has been a reduction in the number of people committing suicide over the last ten years, the numbers are still alarmingly high. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.
Research suggests that open and honest communication about mental health really does support the steps towards suicide prevention; these important conversations have the capacity to increase awareness and understanding, breaking down barriers for those seeking help. It’s incredibly important to try and create solid support networks for those who may be struggling, as this can offer a lifeline to those who are thinking of suicide.
Education and discussion is vital to push the agenda forward, and it is now more important than ever that we discuss mental health openly. Since the pandemic began in the UK, the National Office of Statistics revealed that almost one in five adults were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020). Feeling stressed or anxious was the most common way adults experiencing some form of depression felt their well-being was being affected, with 84.9% stating they had felt this on at least one occasion.
At the Unsung Hero Awards, mental health is something that is very close to our hearts. So much so, we decided to theme our 2020 Awards Gala around mental health. The evening featured a key note speech from mental health advocate Sir John Timpson, as well as Jake Mills, founder of mental health charity Chasing the Stigma, who was also our official MC for the evening. We felt that it was important to champion the important of mental health and discuss issues openly – little did we know that only a month after the 2020 Awards, the nation’s mental health would be challenged more than ever.
We were also incredibly grateful to be working alongside START inspiring minds, a mental health charity based in Salford that uses creativity to help vulnerable people improve their wellbeing. They designed an outstanding artwork display of the famous Manchester Bee especially for the ceremony, which we now proudly display in our city centre office. It serves as a reminder to continually drive the mental health conversation forward and do our utmost to break down the stigmas associated with poor mental health.
Campaigns like Suicide Prevention Day really do provide us with the opportunity to open up about our struggles and tackle issues collectively. Each and every one of us can play an active role in destigmatising mental health and preventing suicides across the globe- as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour.
If you or someone you know is going through a tough time, please remember that you are not alone. Reaching out to seek help can be difficult, but there will always be people there for you to help you through the other side.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has prepared a World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD brochure for 2020. Download here.
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Written by Sarah Catherine Jones | Creative Content Assistant