October 10th 2019 marks World Mental Health Day, and the theme this year is suicide prevention.
In 2015, 6188 people died by suicide across the UK and it is currently the 14th worldwide leading cause of death; yet it is a preventable death [1,2,3].
Suicide occurs when individuals in difficulty are unable to think of solutions, and wrongly perceive there is no alternative but to die by suicide.
Suicidal behaviour is the thoughts and behaviours an individual has relating to suicide and self-harm that do not result in fatality. These include: suicidal ideation (thoughts of intentionally taking one’s own life), making a suicide plan (the creation of a specific action to end one’s own life), and suicide attempt (engage in a potentially self-harmful behaviour where there is intention to end their life). Suicidal behaviours can arise from a complex interaction of societal, community, and individual factors .
The World Health Organisation (2014) stated:
“Early identification and effective managreement are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need” .
Firstly, to reduce anguish we must understand the factors associated with suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideations. Secondly, we have to decrease the likelihood an individual will engage with a suicide attempt.
Research has shown that restricted access to fatal means is correlated to a decrease in suicide . Educating professionals in the recognition of depression and early suicidal behaviour is vital for early intervention [6,7].
Responsible media reporting of suicide across all forms of platforms has been highlighted to reduce stigma, reduce suicide contagion (whereby suicide risk can be increased for those exposed to the death), and increase help seeking behaviour .
Self-care is important for individuals to manage stress and anxiety. Eating healthily, drinking lots of water, taking part in activities they enjoy, socialising, go out into nature, and/or exercising can all help maintain positive mental health. Being kind to one’s self can help the body to decrease those stress hormones, which helps reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. For useful psychological tips for dealing with stress, check out our article here.
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