World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on 10th September was first introduced by the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP). The theme for 2022 is Creating Hope through Action. In Ireland, this is an important theme that is reflected in our national strategy to reduce suicide, Connecting for Life.
WSPD is a time when we can spread a message of hope to others. Even though suicide is a very complex issue, we can always look out for others who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts, and provide support. This helps to create a more caring society where those who need to, feel more comfortable in seeking help.
The following are some examples of actions that can help to create hope this World Suicide Prevention Day.
Reach in to someone you know who might be having difficulties. Find a comfortable space and time to sit and be present with them. Use open questions and tell them you care about them. You don’t need to have all the answers. If they share things with you, listen - stay calm, be patient and kind. Remember that bringing up the topic of suicide with someone will not make suicide more likely. It can be really helpful for a person just to have a safe space to open up, know that they are heard and that they are not alone at a difficult time.
Increase your awareness
If someone tells you that they are having thoughts of suicide, stay calm and don’t be afraid. There are always helpful things you can do and there are training programmes that can help prepare you. Free suicide prevention and awareness programmes are available from the HSE. These can build your confidence, help you recognise people who might be at risk of suicide, ask them about suicide, and connect them with helpful supports and services. For example:
- LivingWorks Start, a 90 minute online programme
- safeTALK, a half day face-to-face programme
- Visit www.nosp.ie/training for more information.
If you are feeling particularly low, sad or hopeless, always remember that sharing things with someone else will help. Reaching out to talk with someone - someone close or even a support organisation - might initially feel frightening. Even if you can’t find the right words, when you take that first step and start to share and talk about what’s going on for you, things can become clearer. The right words will come, and you will start to feel more hopeful.
Be the Light
Connect with a support or community organisation. Volunteer, help spread their messages and become involved in activities that promote positive mental health and wellbeing or suicide prevention in your community. Always think about the person and what they might be going through when talking about suicide.
Remain compassionate and be respectful of the lives that have been lost, and others who have been bereaved. Remember that people can and do get through times of crisis, and that a positive message of recovery, can be protective and hopeful for others to hear.
Know where to turn
Get to know what mental health supports and services are available, and tell more people about them. Speak with a GP about what might be available locally. Tell your family, your friends, your colleagues – you never know when someone might need them. Many are open 24/7 and you can make contact in different ways, for example:
- on the phone - Samaritans, visit www.samaritans.ie or freephone 116 123
- by text message - Text50808, text HELLO to 50808
- online - MyMind, visit www.mymind.org
- face-to-face - Pieta, visit www.pieta.ie or freephone 1800 247 247
You can also call the HSE YourMentalHealth Information Line, anytime day or night, for information on what other services and supports are available near you – freephone 1800 111 888 or visit www.yourmentalhealth.ie
Remember if you, or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm, go to or call the emergency department of your local general hospital. You can also contact emergency services on 112 or 999 anytime, day or night.
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