World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2019): ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’

10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is the second year that the WSPD theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”  This theme will be used for WSPD 2020 also, and has been chosen as it highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention- collaboration. We all have a role to play and together we can collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.

Background Information:

Joining together is critical to preventing suicide. Preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes

  • family,
  • friends,
  • co-workers,
  • community members,
  • educators,
  • religious leaders,
  • healthcare professionals,
  • political officials and
  • governments.

Suicide prevention requires integrative strategies that encompass work at the individual, systems and community level. Research suggests that suicide prevention efforts will be much more effective if they span multiple levels and incorporate multiple interventions.

This requires the involvement of interventions that occur in communities and involve social and policy reforms, as well as interventions that are delivered directly to individuals.

To reach our common goal in preventing suicidal behaviour we as the public, we as organisations, we as legislators and we as members of society must work collaboratively, in a coordinated fashion, using a multidisciplinary approach.

Key Messages:

Over 800,000 people die by suicide annually, representing 1 person every 40 seconds.

2019-09-08 17_31_32-Every 40 seconds someone commits suicide

Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death globally, account for 1.4% of all deaths

The global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100 000 population

  • 15.0/100 000 for males
  • 8.0/100 000 for females

Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 in many European

2019-09-08 17_28_19-Suicides in young people 2015

Globally suicide rates among this age group are higher in males than females

Self-harm largely occurs among older adolescents, and globally is the 2nd leading
cause of death for older adolescent girls

In 2012, 76% of global suicide occurred in low- and middle-income countries
39% of which occurred in the South-East Asia Region

In 25 countries (within WHO member states) suicide is currently still criminalized

In an additional 20 countries suicide attempters may be punished with jail
sentences, according to Sharia law

Suicide is the result of a convergence of risk factors including but not limited to

  • genetic,
  • psychological,
  • social and cultural risk factors,
  • sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss

Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide

50% of individuals in high income countries who die by suicide have major
depressive disorder at their time of death

For every 1 suicide

  • 25 people make a suicide attempt
  • 135 people are affected by each suicide death

This equates to 108 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year

Relatives and close friends of people who die by suicide are a high-risk group for
suicide, due to

  • the psychological trauma of a suicide loss and potential shared familial and environmental risk,
  • suicide contagion through the process of social modelling, and
  • the burden of stigma associated with this loss

2019-09-08 17_29_34-Global targets for reduction of suicide rates

Effective suicide prevention strategies need to incorporate public health policy
strategies and healthcare strategies, incorporating measures with the strongest
evidence of efficacy such as:

  • restriction of access to lethal means;
  • treatment of depression;
  • ensuring chain of care; and
  • school-based universal prevention

LIVE LIFE approach to prevent suicide:

2019-09-08 17_25_49-live-life-approach

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 Activities:

2019-09-08 16_59_59-2019_wspd_infographic.pdf - Opera2019-09-08 17_47_31-Light a Candle Near a Window at 8PM on World Suicide Prevention Day Postcard - O

2019-09-08 18_21_36-2019_wspd_cycle_poster.pdf - Opera

Useful Links:

Link to the WHO Preventing Suicide resource series:

Link to World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 website:


Link to WHO page related to the World Suicide Prevention Day 2019:

Link to World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 toolkit:

Link to World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 Youtube video playlist:


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