Thursday 10 September 2020 is World Suicide Prevention Day.
In 2018, there were 6,859 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland. There has been a significant increase in suicide in the UK, the first time since 2013 – this appears to be driven by an increase in the male suicide rate. In the UK, suicide rates among young people have been increasing in recent years, and the suicide rate for young females is now at its highest rate on record. In the UK men remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women, and in the Republic of Ireland four times more likely.
The Church is increasingly aware of the social and economic pressures that bring people to attempt suicide. The Church publicly expresses hope for their eternal salvation.
‘We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.’
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2283)
To reduce suicide, we need to reach more people who may be at risk of taking their own lives. This can only be achieved by understanding which groups of individuals are more at risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
A reflection by Handsen Chikowore, a Governor of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust:
“Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. There are many factors that causes suicidal feelings and these include mental health problems, bullying or discrimination, domestic, sexual or physical abuse, bereavement, the end of a relationship, financial distress, being in prison, feeling inadequate or a failure and other forms of trauma. In recognising and acknowledging World Suicide Prevention Day we should remember that preventing suicide is often possible and everyone is a key player in its prevention. You can make a difference by raising awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.”
Resources and further information:
The official 2020 World Suicide Prevention Day website, created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).
The Samaritans have produced a report on suicide statistics and trends for the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Welcome Me As I Am have a page on suicide prevention resources, here.