World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is a vital global awareness initiative that takes place every year on September 10th. Its primary objective is to drive worldwide commitment and concerted efforts toward preventing suicide. Since its inception in 2003, WSPD has witnessed diverse activities and engagements across the globe. This initiative is jointly administered by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH).
In the United States, National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) extends from September 10th to September 16th each year. NSPW serves as an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness and providing education on suicide prevention. It also aims to draw attention to the alarming rise in suicide rates. Importantly, NSPW endeavors to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues and promote the idea that seeking mental health assistance should be as commonplace as visiting the gym. Shockingly, nearly 800,000 lives are lost to suicide each year, equating to one death every 40 seconds, as reported by the WHO.
Why Suicide Prevention Week Matters:
- Preventing Suicide: This week plays a pivotal role in preventing suicide. Raising awareness, extending support to those impacted by suicide, and connecting individuals with treatment services can save countless lives.
- Reducing Mental Health Stigma: Through the awareness generated during Suicide Prevention Week, we’ve made significant strides in reducing the stigma associated with mental health. More people today are unafraid to seek help when needed.
- Fostering Compassion: Knowledge about this week fosters empathy, compassion, and community support. It encourages people to come together, educate one another, and offer mutual assistance.
How to Participate in Suicide Prevention Week:
- Raise Awareness: One of the most effective ways to contribute is by spreading awareness about Suicide Prevention Week. We must break down the barriers of stigma to encourage more individuals to seek help.
- Educate Yourself: Learning more about this topic is crucial. Education empowers us to take proactive steps in our communities, helping to break the silence around mental health issues.
- Look Out for Others: Many people suffering from poor mental health hesitate to reach out due to fear of judgment. We should actively watch for warning signs, lend a listening ear, and provide understanding and support.
Additionally, social media platforms can serve as powerful tools to disseminate information and increase awareness. Utilizing them effectively can make a significant impact in the ongoing battle against suicide.
In 2016, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) collaborated with partners to introduce a universal ribbon to promote suicide prevention awareness. The goal was to establish this ribbon as a globally recognized symbol, much like ribbons dedicated to other important causes. After considering various colors associated with suicide prevention worldwide, yellow and orange emerged as the most common choices. As a result, the ribbon design incorporated these colors.
The two-tone ribbon design symbolizes the lighting of a candle, aligning with IASP’s “Light a Candle” campaign and candlelit walks organized by partner organizations worldwide for World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). Additionally, the design complements activities organized by partner organizations under the theme “Out of the darkness into the light.”
In 2018, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) celebrated Twitter’s support for the launch of the International Suicide Prevention Ribbon Emoji. This emoji, available in yellow and orange, was featured on Twitter during World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). When tweets were accompanied by specific hashtags in sixteen languages, Twitter automatically added the ribbon emojis during WSPD. This initiative continues annually, reinforcing the importance of WSPD and suicide prevention efforts.
Helpful Phrases and Words to Support Someone Going Through Depression
When communicating with someone going through depression, it’s important to offer support, understanding, and empathy. Here are some phrases and words that can be helpful:
- “I’m here for you.”
- “You’re not alone in this.”
- “I care about you deeply.”
- “It’s okay to not be okay.”
- “Take your time.”
- “I’m here to listen whenever you want to talk.”
- “I’m not going anywhere, even on your bad days.”
- “You’re stronger than you think.”
- “You don’t have to go through this by yourself.”
- “I believe in you.”
- “Your feelings are valid.”
- “Let’s take things one step at a time.”
- “I’m here to support you in any way I can.”
- “You are important to me.”
- “I’m sorry you’re feeling this way.”
- “Would you like to do something together?”
- “We can get through this together.”
- “It’s okay to ask for help.”
- “Have you considered talking to a professional?”
- “Remember, this too shall pass.”
- “I’m sending you positive thoughts and love.”
- “I appreciate your honesty about how you’re feeling.”
- “You are deserving of happiness.”
- “I’m proud of you for reaching out.”
- “Let’s find some ways to take care of yourself.”
Always approach conversations about depression with sensitivity and patience, and be prepared to offer ongoing support. Encouraging them to seek professional help when needed is also crucial.