Suicide prevention day and month

Suicide prevention day and month

Since 2003, when the first event was established, the10th of September has been known as the international day for suicide prevention. Each year organisations and communities come together to focus on how we can create a world where fewer people commit suicide. The purpose of the event is to bring attention to this issue, to break down taboos, and highlight the importance of making suicide prevention a priority on the healthcare agenda.

Even though officially the 10th of September has been designated the day for suicide prevention, the entire month of September is generally as being associated with suicide prevention. The day and month raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention; however, we should nonetheless keep it in our thoughts throughout all the months of the year, and always be aware of where we can seek help, support, and information.

What is suicide and attempted suicide

Suicide is a deliberate, calculated act that a person commits with the express intention of not surviving and therefore dying.

A suicide attempt is when a person commits the act with the same intention but does not succeed. It can be seen as an act of self-harm without the resulting mortality.

Suicide is often seen as the last resort. When the light at the end of the tunnel is too far away to be reached and life feels too overwhelming. Feelings such as these are some of the things this day aims to change because it is possible to get help whether you are the one who is struggling, a relative, or just wish to seek information on the matter.

Who is at risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide?

We all endure crises over time or get so tangled up in one or more problems that it can be hard to see a way out. It is important to note, that it is possible you can experience suicidal thoughts without no intention of committing suicide.

Although it is possible for everyone to experience suicidal thoughts, there are some people who are at a greater risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts and ultimately attempting or succeeding in committing suicide.

People at greater risk of attempting suicide:

  • People who have lost a close relation. It can be a close friend, partner, spouse, or child.
  • Relatives and close friends to people who have committed suicide.
  • People who have a substance abuse problem – could be alcohol, drugs, or pills.
  • People who are severely depressed. Research has shown that at least half of all suicides have been committed by people who have or have had depression.
  • People who suffer from schizophrenia, which is a mental disorder that can cause frightening hallucinations and delusions. If you want to read more about schizophrenia you can do so here: Schizophrenia
  • People who previously have tried to commit suicide.

Suicide and attempted suicide can have serious emotional and physical consequences. People who attempt suicide, but survive, can experience severe long-term effects to their health. The person who is suicidal or has committed suicide is, however, far from the only person who is affected. The well-being of the person’s close relations, such as friends, family, and colleagues, can also be deeply affected. Close relations may experience shock, anger, guilt, symptoms of depression or anxiety, and can even experience suicidal thoughts themselves.

How can we prevent suicide?

To prevent suicide and attempts of suicide, it is important that we all take responsibility. This encompasses whether your relation to the suicidal person is of a private or professional nature. It is important that we focus on the issue, that we have our eyes and ears open all year round, and not just when it is the international day or month of suicide prevention. This is not to say that you, as a possible close relation, have sole responsibility for the suicidal person’s well-being. But if we all make an effort to be aware of possible warning signs, we can help guide the person concerned in the right direction so they can find the help they need before it is too late.

Most people show warning signs when they are suicidal or have suicidal thoughts. Therefore, one of the best tools we have in aid of suicide prevention is to be aware of the signs and have an idea of how to take action. If you have a feeling that someone you know is suicidal, you can point them in direction. You can make them aware that there are alternatives, places they, or yourself for that matter, can seek help and guidance.

There are many warning signs, and they can be very varied from person to person. Warning signs could for example take the shape of feelings, behaviours, changes in mood or statements.

Possible signs of suicidal behaviour

There are varying types of suicidal behaviour that may manifest in different ways, here are some things to look out for.


  • Hopelessness or loneliness
  • Anger, loss of control
  • Expressed inferiority
  • Strong feelings of shame and / or guilt
  • Lasting sadness, anxiety, depression and / or anger


  • Increasing usage (or abuse) of alcohol or drugs
  • Interest in death
  • Strong unease
  • Aggression
  • Risky behaviour/ taking unnecessary risks
  • Self-destructive behaviour

Personal changes:

  • Becoming manic, secluded, or apathetic
  • Concentration issues
  • Sleep troubles, increased or decreased sleep
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Lost interest in friends, family, or hobbies, etc.


  • “I don’t want to do this anymore”
  • “I wish that I was never born”
  • “I see no point with life”
  • “Everybody would be better off if I wasn’t here”

If we sense or detect warning signs of suicidal behaviour, it can be very hard to know how to act or what to do. If you are in doubt, the first step can be to ask the person concerned how they are and how they are feeling whilst gently implying you can see they are going through a hard time. It is important that you listen even when they tell you things you don’t want to hear. Afterwards you can assess how to proceed, the resources available are not just for them they are for you too, simply knowing who to ask or where to find information can make a huge difference. It is always possible to get help, whether you are a close relation or suicidal yourself.

We can all play a supporting role for those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or for those who have been afflicted by suicide, whether it is as a child, a parent, a friend, or a colleague.

If you know anyone who is, or you yourself are experiencing suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for help. And don’t stop trying, if at first you turn to a person who falls short of your needs. Suicide is a very difficult subject to tackle for all involved and is still a taboo in most societies.

There is always help available. Please know, whatever your circumstances, you are not alone.

Mental Health crisis helplines (UK)

  • Samaritans. You can talk about anything that is upsetting you.
    Call: 116 112 – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • SANEline. If you are experiencing mental health problems or supporting someone else.
    Call: 0300 304 7000 – 4:30pm-10:30 pm everyday
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK: Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with suicidal thoughts.
    Call: 0800 689 5652 – open 24/7