Preventing suicide: Creating Hope through Action

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life, (Mind UK). According to World Health Organization (WHO), Suicide is a global concern and a real public health issue in every part of the world. Globally, about 800,000 people around the world take their life every 40 seconds, with over 75 % of suicides occurring in low and middle income countries (WHO). However, suicide can be prevented by ‘Creating Hope through Action.

There is some scientific evidence that argues that, the following constitute major expressions of the suicidal activity: suicide ideation, suicide intent, suicide gestures, suicide attempts or self-harm, and finally suicide completed. Confusions still exists as to what ‘suicidal’ or expressing ‘suicidality’ means. However, severally factors constitutes suicidal behaviors. The debates continue about the process of the ‘intent’, ‘motivation’ and ‘lethality’.

World Suicide Prevention Day observed on 10 September every year, exists as a platform to raise awareness of suicide and to promote preventative measures with the aim to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally. This year, the world suicide prevention day reflects on the theme ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. The theme aims to inspire hopefulness in people to engage in an open and complex conversation about the subject suicide.

As we continue to advocate for a world with fewer suicide reported cases, ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ signifies the declaration to bestow a new sense of intent – empowering and equipping people with the skills and confidence to connect with someone they think may be struggling is important. As a society/community, our role (action) in suicide prevention can be highlighted in the following actions for considerations.

  1. Cooperate organizations, churches and civil societies should raise awareness and promote self-care. Prevention as often said is better than cure. Reducing known risk is focused primarily on skill building and confidence in identifying suicide ideation, suicide intent, suicide gestures, suicide attempts or self-harm, and finally suicide completed. Also, factors such as substance abuse, alcoholism is often included as an integrated approach to suicide prevention.
  2. Communal living should be encouraged and should identify those at high risk of suicide as a fundamental component of a public health disease prevention program. This should have means by which suicide may occur such as screening for mental health problems especially at the primary health care level.
  3. Health authorities should facilitate access to quality care. Access to quality behavioral health care is an integral component of many suicide-prevention programs. facilitating access to effective care will help ensure that those at increased risk will receive quality care and reduce suicide.
  4. Show love and encourage people who feel hopeless about their life.
    The theme ‘Creating Hope through Action’ is an ambitious task to create a movement of preventative action, with sustained messaging to drive behaviour change and ultimately, prevent more suicides. Lets be the change we desire to see in the world by ‘Creating Hope Through Action’

Pascal Landindome Navelle
Mind ‘N’ Health Foundation Ghana
The writer is with Mind ‘N’ Health Foundation (www.mindnhealthfoundationgh.com), a registered non-profit mental health company that provides mental health advocacy, research, and consultancy.

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