World Suicide Prevention Day 2020: We can all make a difference

HSE Media Release: 9 September

We can all make a difference, as a member of society, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour.  There are many things that we can do, on a daily basis and on World Suicide Prevention Day, to prevent suicidal behaviour.  These include raising awareness about the issue, educating ourselves and others about the causes and the warning signs for suicide, showing compassion and care for those who are in distress in our communities, questioning the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and also by sharing our own experiences. 

The HSE Resource Office for Suicide Prevention offers training programmes that prepare participants to recognise, engage with and support persons who may be having thoughts of suicide. Start is an online programme that can be undertaken online in 1½ hour, advises a four-step model and includes impactful simulations and practices. 

World Suicide Prevention Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the stigma associated with suicide and how we can change it.  

You can help by:

  •  Challenging common myths about or attitudes toward suicide.  This will encourage society to look at suicide from a different perspective – one founded in openness, understanding and compassion for others.
  •  Using trusted sources to educate yourself on mental health difficulties and on suicide.  Learn to use informed, appropriate, sensitive and non-judgemental language and try not to male assumptions.  Don’t identify a person solely by his or her mental health difficulty and never use ‘suicide’ as a noun to describe a person.
  •  Recognising the contribution of people who have mental health difficulties, have attempted suicide and recovered, or who have been bereaved by suicide.  This will give you an invaluable insight into lived experience and will also be very empowering and healing for others.
  •  Starting a conversation with someone you care about.  When doing so, you don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers – just listening with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope.

Resources and Supports

Take a minute to find out what help is available for both yourself and others:

  •  Local GPs
  •  NEDOC GPOut of Hours Service: Phone 1800 777 911 
  •  Hospital Emergency Departments
  •  Pieta House 24/7 Suicide Helpline: Phone 1800 247 247
  •  The Samaritans: Phone 116 123
  •  Your Mental Health Information Line: Phone 1800 111888 or Text ‘Hello’ to 50808.

Websites such as and give information on how to support yourself or someone you care about and details of local and national services.

The HSE funded Pieta Suicide Bereavement Liaison (SBL) Service provides support and practical information immediately after a death by suicide. The SBL officer provides a bereavement liaison service for those who have lost a family member or a friend or colleague to suicide and who may like to avail of support with their grief.

This year the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ Preventing suicide requires the efforts of each of us together with healthcare professionals, educators, community members and political officials and governments. The positive effects of this collaborative work can be sustainable and have a massive impact. 

On September 10th join with many others across the world who are playing their part in the prevention of suicide.

Visit the official World Suicide Prevention Day website here.

Last updated on: 08 / 09 / 2020