Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a campaign that takes place every year to raise awareness of suicide prevention and the support resources available.
Every year, organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where less people die by suicide.
The day has a different focus and theme each year, this year’s focus brings to light a specific aspect of suicide prevention: Connection.
If someone is feeling isolated, vulnerable or distressed, having a sense of connection can play an important role in suicide prevention. Connection comes in many forms: with friends and family; through activities; with nature; with support services.
Forming a meaningful connection can help to distract from suicidal thoughts and engaging in activities can help to take time away from difficulties.
Making connections with friends and family isn’t just important for people who feel distressed, being able to make connections with someone close to us who we think may be struggling can provide invaluable support.
While the coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone in different ways and brought increased challenges, it has also forced us to form connections in new ways.
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is a reminder to continue to reach out to others to help ourselves and our loved ones.
To connect with other people around the world who might be struggling, people are sharing their own experiences of suicidal thoughts and how support helped them to overcome this to live a happy life.
One of the main barriers to speaking out about mental health and suicidal thoughts is the stigma surrounding the topic. People talking about their experiences via social media, through media outlets and to loved ones is helping to create a more open, destigmatised conversation around mental health and suicidal thoughts.
As one of the main forms of connecting and communicating today, social media plays a major role is helping to destigmatise mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
As part of WSPD, Samaritans have launched industry guidelines to help platforms safely and sensitively manager user generated content on suicide and self-harm.
The new guidelines aim to make the internet a safer place for people experiencing these thoughts and behaviours.
If you or someone you know is experiencing poor mental health, suicidal thoughts or wants to learn more about having an open conversation on mental health, there is support available.
The National Suicide Prevention Alliance is made up of more than 70 organisations around the world, all providing resources and support.
If you need to speak to someone now, call one of the helplines below:
0800 58 58 58
The Mix UK
0808 808 4994
111/999 in an emergency
Text CONNECT to 85258