World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

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 multilevel 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 coworkers.

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.

About World Suicide Prevention Day

Every year, suicide accounts for over 800,000 deaths globally. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague.

The crucial role of collaboration is, for the third consecutive year, the theme on World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September):\”Working Together to Prevent Suicide\”.With the prevention of suicide to the fore, we are reminded that we can collectively rise to the challenges presented by suicide.

During this time, the International Association for Suicide Prevention emphasises the importance of raising awareness of the issue and finding out about the causes of suicide and associated warning signs, sharing your own experiences in a bid to more fully understand and address the many component parts of suicide and caring for those in distress in your community – taking a minute to reach out to someone could change the course of another’s life.


What you can do

Suicide is a difficult issue to address and some people may never fully understand why someone would want to take their own life. However, it’s important to know there are things you can do to help prevent it and offer support. 

  • Talk openly about suicide – doing this can give a person other options, or the time to rethink their decision. 
  • Learn to use informed, appropriate, sensitive and non-judgemental language when talking about suicide. 
  • Educate yourself on the complexities of mental health difficulties and suicide via trusted sources and try not to make assumptions. 
  • Recognise the valuable contribution of those who struggle with their mental health, have attempted suicide and recovered and those bereaved by suicide. 
  • Reach out to a support organisation for advice on how to respond to negative behaviours or comment that result from stigma, such as discrimination. 
  • Start a conversation with someone you care about – you don\’t have to have all the answers, and won\’t. 
  • Listen with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement. 

Support is always available

  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email, available 24/7
  • Call Pieta on 1800 247247 or text HELP to 51444, available 24/7 
  • Call the Aware Support Line on 1800 804848 or email 
  • Call the Irish Hospice Foundation Bereavement Support Line on 1800 807077
  • Text YMH to 50808 – a free and anonymous text support service, available 24/7
  • For information on ending mental health stigma, visit
  • For information on mental health supports and services, visit 

From the International Association of Suicide Prevention

Introducing Step Closer: A World Suicide Prevention Day Awareness Film from the IASP. Step Closer is a short film with a positive message encouraging connections and that we all have a role to play in working together to prevent suicide. The film is available for all to download and share. Please access the full press release and social media toolkit for further details on what you can do to get involved.

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