Posted 10th September 2020.
Observed on 10th September every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides the opportunity for people, across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.
The WSPD theme, ‘Working together to prevent suicide’ aims to highlight that preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. ‘Step Closer’ is a short film that builds on this with empathy and compassion around the physical metaphor that ‘every step closer can connect someone to life’.
Every 40 seconds someone takes their life; that’s almost 800,000 people a year around the world with over 75% of suicides occurring in low-and-middle-income countries. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected, resulting in 108 million people annually being profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviours. For every suicide, an estimated 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.
The reduction of suicide mortality is of global imperative and forms part of the global commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing, by one third, premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and the promotion of mental health and well-being. Research shows multi- level approaches to suicide prevention, incorporating multiple interventions, to be effective. Collaboration at all levels is required; between government and stakeholders, funding bodies and organisations, NGOs and those that they serve, healthcare professionals and their patients, and persons at risk and their family, friends and co- workers.
We can all play a role, from reaching out to a friend or family member, to ensuring mental health and suicide prevention are included within Universal Health Coverage efforts, or by lobbying governments to undertake suicide prevention efforts and develop National Suicide Prevention Strategies. Joining together is critical for preventing suicide and ‘Step Closer’ is a film that aims to raise awareness around how, through working together, this could shift the balance and save lives.
As we adapt to a world altered by COVID-19 the message within ‘Step Closer’ becomes more pertinent as levels of isolation, distress and anxiety increase. Connections with others are vital in ensuring all individuals mental health and wellbeing.