Over 40 countries now celebrate World Suicide Day
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to host World Suicide Prevention Day. In 2011 an estimated 40 countries held awareness events to mark the occasion. According to WHO’s Mental health Atlas released in 2014, no low-income country reported having a national suicide prevention strategy, while less than 10% of lower-middle income countries, and almost a third of upper-middle and high-income countries had.
“This World Suicide Prevention Day, please reflect on what you can do to have a positive impact on someone’s life. If you notice that someone is suffering, reach out and listen – and encourage them to seek professional help. This small gesture may prevent a tragedy from occurring. If someone confides in you about suicidal thoughts or intent, please show that you care by offering your help and support.” Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
On its first event in 2003, the 1999 World Health Organization’s global suicide prevention initiative is mentioned with regards to the main strategy for its implementation, requiring:
- “The organisation of global, regional and national multi-sectoral activities to increase awareness about suicidal behaviours and how to effectively prevent them.”
- “The strengthening of countries’s capabilities to develop and evaluate national policies and plans for suicide prevention.”
As of recent WHO releases, challenges represented by social stigma, the taboo to openly discuss suicide, and low availability of data are still to date obstacles leading to poor data quality for both suicide and suicide attempts: “given the sensitivity of suicide – and the illegality of suicidal behaviour in some countries – it is likely that under-reporting and misclassification are greater problems for suicide than for most other causes of death.” wiki