Within the time you read this article, one person somewhere in the world decides to set her life an end. Is it really a choice? Everyone should decide when or if to end his or her life is a common opinion. And yes, I agree. But in many cases, suicide is rather the tragic end to a desperate suffering than a free choice. Depression, physical pain, social pressure and loss, the list is long. More often than not, we hear about ‘unexpected’ suicide of people who where described as life-loving, successful or balanced personalities. Don’t we know enough about each other? Do we need to listen more closely or read between the lines? I don’t know. What I know is that it is always worth it to listen better and to ask further questions about the feelings of our loved ones.
In case we are afraid for somebody, because we see signals or even heard him or her talk about suicide openly, we can feel a huge powerlessness. What can I do more than encourage someone? How do I get people to look for professional help?
This is a lot about awareness and about breaking through walls. Walls in people and in society.
The World Health Organization has installed a World Suicide Prevention Day. Today, on September 10, the International Association for Suicide Prevention raises awareness for the ones not heard. Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide. It is the second leading cause of death among those aged between 15 and 29. For each one who died, about 20 others are estimated who made suicide attempts.
We cannot imagine the pain that leads to the decision for death. But we can help. Social isolation is the number one risk factor, especially among the young. Help to raise awareness, help that we all become better in reaching out for the ones who are isolated, depressed and distressed by life.
Get involved in social media activities, start local initiatives in your school or university and most important, care for the ones closely around you. And if you are struggling with life yourself, please get help, ask friends or family or reach out for help at local institutions and hotlines. Be sure that you are not forgotten but the ones around you may be too busy with their own life to hear you. They will be thankful for your wake up call.
All information about World Suicide Prevention Day right here and watch the message from ISAP President Ella Arensman here: