Shocking statistics show that around the world, someone commits suicide every 40 seconds, which translates to roughly 800,000 people a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
Some 20 million suicide attempts are made per year, with one in twenty people succeeding, bringing the deadly deed to one of the top three leading causes of death.
This year on September 10, or World Suicide Prevention Day, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) fights to bring awareness to suicide victims and to encourage communities to reach out and connect with potential suicide victims with its newest theme: Working Together to Prevent Suicide.
“The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented,” said WHO officials, a co-sponsor of the international event.
Suicide cases vary, with victims ranging from 15 to 70 years old; however, research shows suicide rates among young adults has tripled since the 1950’s. According to reports, the majority occur in low and middle-income countries without the means for prevention programs.
In a column for Forbes magazine, bestselling author and international speaker, Margie Warrell, explained that the stigma around mental illness continues to inhibit those suffering severe depression and suicidal thoughts from confiding to their associates.
Warrell writes: “Fear of social rejection, ridicule, discrimination and judgment often keep people from sharing their struggle. ... If you sense someone around you may be struggling, have the courage to ask them how they're doing. Put yourself in their shoes and try not to judge, but to extend the compassion they need.
On its site, IASP listed some of the key signs to watch for in friends and family who may be a risk for high levels of depression. These include: hopelessness, rage, recklessness, feeling trapped, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family and society, anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, and dramatic mood changes.
“While we may not all suffer from mental illness, we each have a role to play in ensuring that those who do suffer feel less afraid to reach out and get the support they need in the moments when they need it most,” Warrell said.