World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day
An infographic announcing September 10, 2022 as World Suicide Prevention Day.

Globally, an estimated 703 000 people die by suicide every year, according to the World Health Organization. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) acknowledges September as National Suicide Prevention month to raise awareness of the potential warning signs and increase prevention efforts. National Suicide Prevention Month is also known as National Suicide Prevention Week, which leads up to the World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th.

Suicide Risk Factors & Warning Signs

 A multitude of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors can increase the risk of suicidal ideation, including:

  • Mental illnesses 
  • Physical illnesses such as chronic pain
  • Substance misuse
  • A history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) including child maltreatment
  • Bullying and/or violent relationships
  • Loss of financial security, a loved one, or a relationship
  • Lack of access to health care 
  • Stigma associated with mental illness
  • Unsafe media portrayals of suicide

These risk factors may lead to suicidal ideation. Warning signs of suicidal ideation include:

  • Talk of being a burden, feeling trapped, or being in pain
  • Social isolation or behavioral changes in social situations
    • Extreme mood swings (increased rage, anxiety, or hopelessness)
  • Increased substance use
  • Sleeping too little or too much

Prevention & Responses

With interventions and a comprehensive prevention strategy, suicide is preventable. On an individual level, the World Health Organization recommends these evidence-based strategies:

  • Limit access to the means of suicide (firearms, weapons, certain medications/drugs)
  • Encourage social interaction and emotional control for adolescents
  • Identify and follow up with anyone displaying signs of suicidal ideation

On a societal level, risk factors, including bullying, abusive relationships, ACEs, racism, discrimination, and financial insecurity, can be addressed and counteracted through policy and community action. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formally known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)is now available at 988. Phone operators are available in several languages, and  help is also available via text message for English speakers. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, help and resources are available. 

This blog was written by STM Learning’s editorial staff for educational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific medical or legal advice. For expert information on the discussed subjects, please refer to STM Learning’s publications.


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