10 September 2018

World Suicide Prevention Day: Working Together to Prevent Suicide

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) suicide is responsible for over 800,000 deaths every year. For every suicide, 25 other people make a suicide attempt, and countless more have serious thoughts of suicide.


Taking into account people who complete suicide, people who attempt suicide, and their friends and family, every year hundreds of millions of people are affected by suicide across the globe.


So today on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), we ask: how can we tackle this issue?


Mental Health Europe subscribes to the psychosocial model of mental health. Instead of defining mental ill-health as a ‘disease’ or ‘illness’ caused by purely biological factors, we believe in an approach that looks to a person’s life and social environment as factors important in understanding well-being and mental ill health. In short, we believe mental health difficulties, including ones which contribute to suicidal ideation, are the result of a multitude of factors – biological, psychological, social and cultural.


The IASP agree and suggest the challenges presented by this heterogeneity can only be overcome by an approach to suicide prevention that brings together family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments. That is why the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is Working Together to Prevent Suicide.


We believe this multisectoral approach is the best way to tackle suicide prevent, but we also emphasise the need for a holistic approach to support which responds to an individual’s unique needs. Services must look at the multitude of factors – biological, psychological, social and cultural – that underly suicidal ideation and they must value the lived experience of people, recognising them as experts in their own lives. Importantly, support should be easily accessible, ideally in a community setting.


It is only through this psychosocial model, working together, that we can stem suicide and help people to recover from mental health difficulties and live full and meaningful lives.


For more information about World Suicide Prevention Day visit https://iasp.info/wspd2018/

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