Today, October 10, 2019, we celebrate World Mental Health Day. It is observed on the 10th of October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health-care a reality for people worldwide. It is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma.
World Mental Health Day is organized by the World Federation for Mental Health.
This year’s Day is supported by World Health Organization (WHO), the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and United for Global Mental Health and the theme for this year is SUICIDE AND SUICIDE PREVENTION
According to the health body, close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year; that’s one person every 40 seconds. Suicide occurs throughout life. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 age group, globally.
Suicide occurs in all regions of the world. In fact, 79% of global suicides happen in low- and middle-income countries.
While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis. Further risk factors include experience of loss, loneliness, discrimination, a relationship break-up, financial problems, chronic pain and illness, violence, abuse, bullying and conflict or other humanitarian emergencies. The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.
Much can be done to prevent suicide. World Health Organization recommends four key interventions which have proven to be effective:
- Restricting access to means
- Helping young people develop skills to cope with life’s pressures
- Early identification and management of people who are thinking about suicide or who have made a suicide attempt, keeping follow-up contact in the short and longer-term
- Working with the media to ensure responsible reporting of suicide.
Collectively, WHO’s approach to suicide prevention is known as LIVE LIFE (Leadership, Interventions, Vision and Evaluation). This approach is the basis on which comprehensive national suicide prevention strategies should be developed.
So, as this year focuses on “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it, we encourage you all to organize trainings for students, create safe school environment to make them stay mentally healthy, learn to make sensitive and compassionate conversations, consider how you can create learning opportunities for all your staff, raise their overall level of understanding of mental health, and specifically address the stigma around suicide so as to support those who might most need help.
Remember…. “Health is Wealth”.