It was revealed this week by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that worldwide, one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. For #WSPD 2019, people took to social media to share their stories and remind those in need that help is available
What is #WSPD?
#WSPD (World Suicide Prevention Day) is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). Every year on 10 September, communities around the world come together to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a “40 seconds of action” campaign following the news that every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. The campaign, working alongside #WSPD and World Mental Health Day (10 October), aims to raise awareness of suicide worldwide, and highlights the role each of us can play to help prevent it.
Messages of support
On Tuesday 10 September, social media was alight with personal experiences and messages of hope and support, from the general public and celebrities alike.
Mental health advocate, TEDx speaker and podcast host, Jake Tyler, wrote on Instagram: “This is a photo of me during the darkest period of my life, when the idea of killing myself went from simple ideation to a fully formed plan…
“Some of us are handling life ok, some of us as mostly alright with a few wobbly bits, and some of us don’t know how much more we can take. People will rarely give you the whole picture, so just check in with them every now and then, even if it looks like they’re smashing it. You might catch them at a time they actually need a mate.
“Just remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Good times pass but so do the bad. You’ll be stronger once you get out the other side, and you will.”
Russell Brand posted a tweet, revealing that as he reads the stories of people who completed suicide, he realises how close he was to that point himself.
“I’m reading a lot of last words from people who took their own lives. What strikes me is how close to the feelings they describe I have felt. It’s a fine line between life & death & connection with others may keep us on the right side of it. Reach out!”
Writer and influencer, Gemma Styles shared a photo of herself taken at the end of 2018, explaining that looking back at it, she has mixed feelings.
“Maybe you can tell or maybe you can’t but I was so depressed. I didn’t post it, one because I really wasn’t thinking about Instagram, and two because I thought everyone would be able to tell. When I saw this picture at the time, all I could see on my face was sadness. Sadness and a forced smile.
“Looking back at it today, I think it’s not that bad? Even I can’t really tell anymore.
“Takeaways? Firstly - people who look happy in pictures aren’t always okay. Talk to each other. Check in with your friends. Don’t be ashamed to admit when you are struggling. Secondly, and most importantly - I am not that sad now. If you are that sad today, please know that it won’t last forever. The world will wait for you. You will smile real smiles again.”
Author Matt Haig posted a tweet, encouraging users to share stories and messages of hope to those who need it: “If like me you once nearly died by suicide and are happy you didn’t, it would be great to send a pic or message here to give others hope.”
Where to get help
If you are in crisis and are concerned for your own, or someone else’s safety, call 999 or go to A&E as soon as possible.
To talk to someone immediately, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email them on [email protected]. The Samaritans are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous. If you need to talk, they are there to listen.
Mental health helplines
NSPCC offer support and help for children affected by abuse. If you need help and are 18 and under, call Childline on 0800 1111. If you are worried about a child, call 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected].
Youth Access offers a directory of local youth information, advice and counselling services for young people aged 14-25.
Counselling Directory lists thousands of counsellors and psychotherapists across the UK. Specialising in a number of issues, visit Counselling Directory to find a professional near you.
Stonewall is the UK charity for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. They offer information, advice and where to get local support. Visit their Information Service or call 0800 050 2020 for more information.
For a full list of helplines, visit our A-Z list of mental health support page.
It can be difficult knowing how to be there for someone, or where to start. If you’re worried about someone, talking can really help. Letting them talk about how they feel can make a big difference. The key is to listen.