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World Suicide Prevention Day – 10th September 2014

Suicide prevention: One world connected

The 2014 international theme for World Suicide Prevention Day which falls on 10th September 2014 is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.’ The theme reflects the fact that connections are important at several levels if we are to combat suicide – at an individual level, cross support services, and cross country/countries.

Suicide is a serious public health problem. Suicide occurs all over the world and can take place at almost any age. Although the rates of suicides have reduced in Sri Lanka over the years, new official data shows that Sri Lanka still has one of highest suicide rates in the world, with almost 4,000 people killing themselves per year, and majority aged 15-44.

While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses.

Suicides are preventable. Reducing access to means of suicide, responsible reporting of suicide in the media, and early identification and treatment of mental and substance use disorders, particularly depression, are effective measures to reduce deaths due to suicides.

Suicidal intent of children, adolescent and elderly should be taken into serious consideration. Both youth and older adults are at a high risk of suicide. Bullying is an extremely serious problem, which trigger suicidal thoughts in youth. Other suicidal factors among youth include loss of romantic relationships, inability to cope with academic challenges and life stressors.

Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Seek professional help. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. Offer an empathetic, listening ear to them. Good family support, resorting to religious means, improving positive life skills to resolve crisis or problem situations in life can save a person’s life.