by Delanee Ensley
There are a lot of moments in day-to-day life where you can feel alone or like your life has no meaning. These feelings, though not invalid, can be hazardous to your mental health. Suicide is never the answer, even when depression feels like it is taking over your life. World Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place on September 10th every year, is a step in the direction of helping those who are struggling.
One day is not enough to cover the prevention of suicide, but it has helped start a movement of motivated people. In 2003, the World Health Organization decided to create a day dedicated to helping those with the overwhelming feeling of suicidal thoughts. Not everyone is aware of how prominent suicide is. According to the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide. In 2019, the World Health Organization started a campaign called “40 seconds of action.” This means that if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, take 40 seconds to talk to someone you know about how you are feeling, or take 40 seconds to post something on social media to let others know you care. Though this took place two years ago, it is still a helpful tool for anyone struggling.
Mental health has been declining the past couple of years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to Healthline, the suicide rate has dropped by 6%, which is the lowest it has been in four decades. Though there is not a definitive answer to why this is, there is speculation that it is due to the togetherness people have felt while at home with their loved ones; they are able to speak out more and get the support they need. Teletherapy has been extremely helpful. Many people find that being able to talk to a therapist during the day gives them the boost they need in times of crisis.
Every year World Suicide Prevention Day is given a new campaign theme. This year’s theme, according to International Association for Suicide Prevention, is “Creating Hope Through Action.”
This theme “is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.”
This statement is important for everyone. Just talking to someone about the episode of that show you’re binging or complimenting someone’s shoes can make a world of difference. It can make them feel like they matter.
Looking for signs of depression or suicide can be difficult, especially if it’s a close friend or family member. However, there are a few major signs you can look for while talking or hanging out with them.
1. Verbal: Verbal signs may seem obvious, but sometimes they can come out as a joke or an off-handed comment. When talking to someone, listen to them if they mention that they feel like they have no reason to live or if they feel like they are a burden. These comments might seem silly to you, but for them, they could mean something deeper.
2. Behavior: Behavioral signs are usually a bit more drastic. These signs can be a little as withdrawing from activities or as major as drinking too much or saying goodbye a little too often. These behaviors might be more serious than they are letting on.
3. Mood/Emotion: People’s moods and emotions are difficult to decipher, but something everyone can see in a friend or family member is hopelessness. These moods don’t always go away with time, and it’s important to notice when they take a drastic turn or stay the same. These emotional changes could mean something bigger.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an important day to help those who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Though these conversations can be difficult or uncomfortable to bring up, it’s important to show your loved ones that you care and are there for them when they need your support.
If you or anyone you know is exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.