2012 world suicide prevention day banner

Suicide, the third leading cause of death among young Americans ages 15-24, is surrounded by stigma and silence. Many people do not realize that depression is a treatable illness that affects individuals of all ages, genders, races, and religions around the world, and that suicide is a preventable death. Your efforts are needed to help break the silence by openly and courageously discussing depression and suicide.

Today is the tenth annual World Suicide Prevention Day and the second day of National Suicide Prevention Week (September 9-15). Founded in 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day aims to raise awareness that suicide is preventable. This year represents a shift in focus from reducing risk factors for suicide to strengthening protective factors.

What are protective factors?

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) identifies psychological, social, and cultural factors that can protect against development of suicidal behaviors.

“Among psychological factors, resilience (the ability to cope with adverse life events and adjust to them), a sense of personal self-worth and self-confidence, effective coping and problem-solving skills, and adaptive help-seeking behaviour are often considered to be protective against the development of suicidal behaviours.

Social and cultural factors such as…maintenance of good relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbours, access to support from relevant others and ready access to health care are associated with a reduced risk of suicide and reduced repetition of attempted suicide. In addition, a healthy lifestyle…is also associated with a reduced risk of suicidal behaviour.”
– 2012 World Suicide Prevention Day Brochure (available here)

What can you do?

  • Start the conversation with your friends and family. Share the message that suicide can be prevented, and discuss how to apply protective factors in your own lives!
  • Visit the Elyssa’s Mission Facebook page this week to join us in lighting a Facebook candle with the collective goal to help save young lives.
  • RSVP “attending” to the World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook event and participate in local events

With your help, we will work towards educating the general public about suicide prevention. To find out more about Elyssa’s Mission or how you can get involved this week or any time, please visit the How Can I Help? page on our website.

– Alicia B. Johnston, Elyssa’s Mission Volunteer