Every year on September 10th, the world observes a very sensitive and difficult topic: suicide. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), evidence shows that every 40 seconds someone decides to take their life. This is an ever-growing issue, with those who are struggling with sobriety having an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. According to the Addiction Center, studies have proven that suicide is one of the top leading causes of death amongst Americans, coming in at 10th place overall, but 3rd for young people between the ages of 10 to 14 and 2nd for those 15 to 34.
Starting in 2003, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) had enacted this day. Being co-sponsored by the World Federstion for Mental Health and World Health Organization, the IASP aimed to not just promote September 10th as a day of awareness, but one dedicated to research, data analysis and development of the best sound practices and policies for suicide prevention. From its establishment, World Suicide Prevention Day’s goals were and continue to be:
The organization of global, regional and national multi-sectoral activities to increase awareness about suicidal behaviors and how to effectively prevent them.
The strengthening of countries’ capabilities to develop and evaluate national policies and plans for suicide prevention.
Studies have shown that suicide, addition and depression are fairly interconnected, with over 90% of all suicide victims suffering from depression, substance abuse or both. Additionally, those who have a substance abuse disorder have been stated to be 6 times more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their lives. And, of all substances, the one that has been responsible for the most suicides is opioid. Opioid usage increases the likelihood of a suicidal thought by 40% to 60%, and increases the likelihood of a suicide attempt by 75%.
As stated by the Addiction Center, some of the most common warning signs for suicide include:
- Expressing a desire for death
- Expressing a feeling of being trapped
- Acting agitated or anxious
- Reckless behavior
- Isolation from friends and family
- Avoiding social situations
- Abandoning hobbies or other sources of enjoyment
- Heavy drug and/or alcohol use
- Extreme irritability
- Sudden decrease in work or academic performance
For September 10th, 2021, let’s all learn how and take the time to observe World Suicide Prevention Day:
- CONNECT: Don’t be afraid to speak to someone you sense that someone is suffering in silence; don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re suffering in silence. There is an international community ready, willing and able to provide the care and resources needed to make each day much brighter.
- TALK: The more we talk about this issue, the more we can do to eradicate it. Maybe attend a conference, join a panel, even just join an online discussion. Regardless of how you talk about it, make sure it’s being talked about.
- DISCOVER RESOURCES: Learn the signs of suicide and ways you can go about preventing it. Tons of knowledge exist to help you and those you love; learn more to do more.