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World Suicide Prevention Day

Founded in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides and suicidal behaviour.

In the UK, men are three times as likely as women to die from suicide, and in the Republic of Ireland the rate is four times higher amoung men and women. 

Although there has been a reduction in the number of people committing suicide over the last 10 years the numbers are still extremely high, causing a major cause for concern. 

The aim of World Suicide Prevention Day is to start conversations about suicide and that recovery is possible. Many mental health organisations including Mind and Samaritans come together to raise awareness of this day. 

This year’s global pandemic has seen us all face periods of stress, uncertainty and fear which has had a massive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. For many, lockdown was, and still continues to be, a daunting process, and for those suffering with anxiety this may have made an already difficult situation harder. For those with mental health issues and anxiety, the idea of wearing a mask also causes additional stress.

Mental health concerns for young people have increased over the past few years- even before Covid-19, one in eight children and young people aged between 5 and 19 in England was diagnosed with a mental disorder. 

This is why Youth Mental Health Day, which took place on 7th September was created to give young people support and hope, and to encourage them to engage in discussions regarding improving mental health and breaking the stigma associated with mental health.. This year’s campaign was focused on building ‘resilience’, with the theme ‘Bounce Not Break.’

This theme was chosen to highlight that even though we all face challenges in life, resilience is the positive way in which we adapt to these challenges. Resilience is not about ignoring our emotions or pretending to be okay. Instead, it gives us the ability to identify when we are feeling anxious, upset or sad and helps us understand how to express and manage these emotions. Through learning resilience and understanding how to ‘bounce not break’, we can learn from failures, setbacks and hardships. 

Regardless of age and gender, learning how to ‘Bounce Not Break’ is important for us all to ensure that our mental health is well looked after.

If you are feeling anxious, suffering from depression, or have suicidal thoughts, it’s essential that you speak out. Likewise, if you know someone who is displaying worrying signs or has been opening up to you about how they’re feeling, make sure you keep those lines of communication open. Talking and being there for someone can help make a real difference. 

You can also find out more at the Rethink Mental Illness website.