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World Suicide Prevention Day
by Asa Butcher
2006-09-11 11:10:48
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One of the most shocking images of September 11th, 2001, was watching workers inside the World Trade Center take their life into their own hands by choosing to jump to their death. The two women holding hands, the man clutching his briefcase and dozens of others took the unimaginable horror of that day to an even higher level as the cameras followed their last moments.banner2006_english_400

Today is the fourth World Suicide Prevention Day and it brought those memories from five years ago to mind and made me think about a friend who took the ultimate personal decision seven months later. To be driven to contemplate suicide is something few of us can begin to imagine, but days such as today are designed to focus our attention on an issue usually ignored.

“In this age of preoccupation with global violence, terrorism and homicides, we often ignore the fact that worldwide more people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist acts and interpersonal violence combined,” said Professor Brian Mishara, the President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. “More than a million people worldwide die by suicide each year, many millions make suicide attempts severe enough to need medical treatment and many millions are affected by the disastrous impact of a suicide."

Finland's suicide rate is the second highest in Europe - Hungary tops the table - has successfully managed to reduce the annual suicide rate by 18% since 1990, but it is still in second place. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, mental illness and social exclusion are common reasons in Finland, while alcoholics commit more than half of the annual suicides.

"We have now developed enough understanding of suicide to prevent a significant proportion of these tragic deaths, to treat suicidal individuals and help families bereaved by suicide," explains Professor Mishara. "Promising areas for suicide prevention include improving mental health treatment and management, educating physicians, restricting access to lethal means of suicide, educating the community, providing help in crisis situations, providing support after suicide attempts and improving media coverage of suicide.”

'With Understanding New Hope' is the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2006 and is an opportunity for those with experience in understanding suicidal behaviour, including researchers, clinicians and practitioners, to share their knowledge and highlight ways this knowledge can be applied to suicide prevention activities, programmes and policies. "It is our hope that these activities will help change public attitudes and increase awareness and knowledge about suicide as a major public health problem that is preventable,” concluded Professor Mishara."

International Association for Suicide Prevention

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Eva2006-09-14 23:19:19
I apologize if I sound completely deranged, but do you think this really true?

"To be driven to contemplate suicide is something few of us can begin to imagine"

Asa2006-09-15 11:18:57
I don't know. I guess trying to put myself in the position of somebody who has a bottle of painkillers in their hand or is tying the noose is such a frightening idea for me to begin to comprehend that I don't want to say 'I know what it must be like' because, as I said, I can barely imagine.

Does that make any sense?

Eva2006-09-15 15:12:25
Yes it makes sense :)
The reason I asked was because I actually had a discussion about this with some friends a few years back, and it turned out that most of us at some point in life had had suicide thoughts (all of us being darkminded Finns, he he).
So I took it as being a more common phenomena than one would think. Mind you, we were discussing THOUGHTS only.

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