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World Suicide Prevention Day 2021: Significance, theme, warning signs



Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year. It is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds.

Suicides also have a ripple effect on an individual’s family, friends, colleagues and communities. It is, however, preventable and several steps can be taken to help those who are vulnerable. To raise awareness, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed annually on September 10. The theme this year is “Creating hope through action”, according to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to stress the importance of collective action to address this issue.

While certain mental health disorders may lead to one taking the extreme step, it can also happen impulsively in a moment of crisis.

WHO lists some of the warning signs that one should be aware of:

*Threatening to kill oneself.
*Saying things like, “No-one will miss me when I am gone”.
*Looking for ways to taking one’s own life.
*Saying goodbye to close family members and friends, giving away valued possessions or writing a will.

Among those who are more at risk include:

*People who have previously tried to take their own life.
*Someone with depression or an alcohol or drug problem.
*Those suffering from severe emotional distress.
*People suffering from chronic pain or illness.
*Those who are socially isolated.

If you know someone showing symptoms of suicide, here’s what you should do, as advised by WHO:

*Find an appropriate time and a quiet place to talk with the person. Let them know you are there to listen.

*Encourage him or her to seek the help of a professional such as a doctor, mental health expert, counsellor or social worker. Offer to accompany to an appointment.

*If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave them alone. Seek the help of a professional from emergency services, a crisis line or a healthcare professional, or turn to family members.

*Ensure the person does not have access to means of self-harm at home.

*Keep a check on how the person is doing.

The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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