World Mental Health Day 2019 – Suicide Prevention

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 [3].


The World Health Organisation (2014) stated:

Early identification and effective managreement are key to ensuring that people receive the care they need” [4].

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 [5]. 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 [8].

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.

Call 116 123 (Free)
Email (open 24 hours)

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm
Text 07786 209697

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill


[1] Office of National Statistics (2015). Suicide in England and Wales. Retrieved 9 October 2019 from birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/ suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2015registrations

[2] Office of National Statistics (2015). Summary tables. Retrieved 9 October 2019 from deathregistrationsinenglandandwalessummarytables2015

[3] O’Connor, R.C. & Nock, M.K. (2014). The Psychology of Suicidal Behaviour. The Lancet, 1(1), 73–85.

[4] World Health Organization. (2014). Suicide prevention – A global imperative. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.

[5] Zalsman G., Hawton K., Wasserman D. et al. (2016). Suicide prevention strategies revisited: 10-year systematic review. Lancet Psychiatry, 3(7), 646–59. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30030-X.

[6] Coppens, E., Van Audenhove, C., Iddi, S., Arensman, et al. (2014). Effectiveness of community facilitator training in improving knowledge, attitudes, and confidence in relation to depression and suicidal behavior: Results of the OSPIEurope intervention in four European countries. Journal of Affective Disorders, 165, 142–50. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.052.

[7] Wasserman, D., Rihmer, Z., Rujescu, D. et al. (2012). The European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance on suicide treatment and prevention. European Psychiatry, 27(2), 129–41. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.06.003.

[8] Niederkrotenthaler, T., Reidenberg, D.J., Till, B. & Gould, M.S. (2014). Increasing help-seeking and referrals for individuals at risk for suicide by decreasing stigma: The role of mass media. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47(3, Supplement 2), 235-43. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2014.06.010.

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