How to Observe World Suicide Prevention Day (2023)

What Is World Suicide Prevention Day?

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10th every year to support the worldwide commitment to suicide prevention.

Suicide is far too common. Every year, more than 703,000 people die by suicide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is one person every 40 seconds. In the United States, suicide is a leading cause of death.

By sharing our mental health stories, raising awareness, and taking actionable steps in our local communities, we can prevent suicide. World Suicide Prevention Day reinforces this idea by providing events, resources, and actionable steps.

History of World Suicide Prevention Day

Organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the WHO, the observance day was first implemented in 2003.

The initial goal was to amplify the message that “suicide is preventable.” Over the years, though, World Suicide Prevention Day has grown and evolved its messaging to include themes such as “Suicide Prevention: One World Connected” and “Take a Minute, Change a Life.”

This year’s, 2022, theme "Creating Hope Through Action” focuses on the importance of taking action, no matter how big or small, to help individuals who are suffering.

“By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them,” says IASP. “By encouraging understanding, reaching in, and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain. You can be the light.”

Every year, numerous countries participate in the day by hosting activities. Some events that have taken place include:

  • IASP’s release of the film “Step Closer” highlights the need for collective support in preventing suicide worldwide.
  • Cycle Around the Globe 2020, a cycling event hosted in more than 40 countries and resulted in more than $12,000 raised for suicide prevention efforts.
  • Light a Candle campaign to encourage survivors of suicide and those who’ve lost loved ones to suicide to reflect and remember by lighting a candle on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day.

World Suicide Prevention Day also coincides with Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, hosted by National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Suicide Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), and National Recovery Month, currently hosted by NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.

All of these are observed in the United States throughout September and are helping reduce the stigma associated with mental health, substance misuse, and suicide.

How to Support Suicide Prevention Efforts

It's important to learn about the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. You should also take proactive steps to safeguard your own mental health, encourage help-seeking, and empower your friends, family, colleagues, and communities to support one another should a crisis occur, explains Stephanie Rogers, Senior Vice President of Communications & Marketing at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

The best thing you can do is armor yourself with information and take action when you recognize signs or symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm, indicating that someone is at risk of contemplating or attempting suicide.

To observe World Suicide Prevention Day, Rogers suggests taking the following steps:

  • Add crisis resource numbers to your phone and encourage loved ones to do the same.
  • Reach out to a friend, family member, or person in your community who you think may be struggling with their mental health.
  • Advocate for mental health policies that ensure everyone in your community has access to mental health care, suicide prevention training, and funding for local crisis resources.
  • Get involved in community organizations.

You can also attend an event, host your own, donate money, or volunteer your time to support the ongoing work of local, national, and international organizations that are working to prevent suicide around the world.

Organizations that offer substance misuse services, behavioral health services, and mental health care are essential to preventing suicide. So are homeless shelters, community support groups, and other services that support individuals through personal hardships.

The New 988 Suicide Hotline is Live

Start the Conversation

It can be hard to know when someone may be thinking about suicide, explains Doreen Marshall, PhD, Vice President of Mission Engagement at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Take notice of changes in behavior, expressions of hopelessness, changes in mood, or difficulty with daily activities that could indicate the presence of a worsening mental health condition, and don't be afraid to ask someone if they have been having thoughts of suicide, especially if they're experiencing significant life stressors.

While mental health professionals have education, tools, and resources to support individuals struggling with their mental health, Dr. Marshall says we all play a critical role in suicide prevention. Having an open, authentic conversation about mental health with loved ones is a great first step.

This may not be easy, of course, but Dr. Marshall offers some useful tips:

  • When someone is struggling, just listen to them.
  • Let others share at their own speed.
  • Don’t pass judgment or offer advice; just be present.
  • Understand that we all experience mental health differently, and that’s OK.
  • Following the conversation, check back in and offer to connect them to professional help if they need it.

For additional conversation starters, you can download the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention’s #RealConvo guides.

Seek Support

If you’re concerned about what you’re noticing or become aware that you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, Dr. Marshall says it's important to reach out to a mental health professional for support.

Mental health looks different for everyone, but we all need support. No matter if it’s a loved one, a neighbor, a therapist, or a community organization, it’s important to have a reliable network of people who are there when life gets hard.

This World Suicide Prevention Day, open the lines of communication. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out to them. If you, yourself, are struggling, open up to a loved one or a mental health expert. Starting the conversation is an important first step in getting help.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact theNational Suicide Prevention Lifelineat988for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see ourNational Helpline Database.

A Word From Verywell

The narrative around mental health is changing in the United States. Health plans are now offering their members behavioral health services. Employers are prioritizing their employees’ mental health with increased paid time off. Celebrities are talking about their own mental illnesses. Mental health services, from free apps to online therapy, are becoming more accessible and more affordable. Still, a stigma exists and it’s important to continue to address it.

Thousands of Americans are hurting or know a loved one who's hurting, and we need to continue to make mental health a priority by advocating for policy changes, building community relationships, sharing resources, and most importantly, seeking mental health care when our mental health is harmed, which will encourage others to do the same.

3 Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. International Association for Suicide Prevention. WSPD2021 - IASP.

  2. World Health Organization. Suicide worldwide in 2019: global health estimates.

  3. International Association for Suicide Prevention. About - IASP WSPD History Ribbon Launch Themes.

How to Observe World Suicide Prevention Day (1)

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What is the message of suicide prevention Day? ›

Creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021 - 2023. This theme is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us.

What are the activities on suicide prevention? ›

Organising walks to political or public places to highlight suicide prevention. Holding book launches, or launches for new booklets, guides or pamphlets. Distributing leaflets, posters and other written information. Organising concerts, BBQs, breakfasts, luncheons, contests, fairs in public places.

Why suicide prevention Day is observed? ›

10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). WHO has been co-sponsor of the day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

What is the color for suicide prevention Day? ›

The suicide prevention awareness ribbon colors – yellow and orange, signify suicide prevention awareness around the world. The two-toned ribbon is also indicative of a candle flame. This ties in nicely with “Light a Candle,” a WSPD activity, as well as the many candlelight walks held around the globe.

What is the symbol for suicide awareness? ›

They are known for encouraging people to tattoo the punctuation mark semicolon (;) as a form of solidarity between people dealing with mental illness or the death of someone from suicide. Founded in 2013, ten years after the death of Amy Bleuel's father by suicide.

What is suicide mission? ›

Definitions of suicide mission. killing or injuring others while annihilating yourself; usually accomplished with a bomb. synonyms: martyr operation, sacrifice operation.

What activity is good for depression? ›

This includes running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross-country skiing, and kickboxing. According to the Mayo Clinic, engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise on three to five days of the week could significantly lessen depressive symptoms.

What is suicide awareness training? ›

This training course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to better understand the topic of suicide and spot any warning signs suicide, as well as to feel more confident in how to support yourself and hold a safe conversation with someone who is having thoughts of suicide. Suicide Awareness.

What is suicide prevention training called? ›

Usually, organizations choose to train HR staff, supervisors or managers, or peer supporters, but anyone in an organization can potentially be trained in what is known as “suicide prevention gatekeeper training.” Suicide Prevention Gatekeepers are people who are likely to observe changes in mood and behavior in others ...

Why is Mental Health day observed? ›

10 October is World Mental Health Day

The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

Why is suicide prevention important in schools? ›

Having schools involved in preventing and detecting suicide risk can be particularly impactful because parents/caregivers may not realize that their child is at risk for, or know how to talk to their child about, suicide.

How do you create hope through action? ›

How do we create hope through action? By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain.

What color heart represents suicide? ›

The first suicide drew a red heart. The second was green. Then, amid a wave of disbelief, some teens posted a heart in blue, suggesting a third death.

What color symbolizes suicide? ›

The purple and turquoise Suicide Prevention Ribbon symbolizes suicide awareness and prevention and serves as a reminder that suicide is an issue we need to talk about.

What does yellow ribbon mean for suicide? ›

Yellow Ribbon provides trainings in suicide prevention, and collaborates with community support networks to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide.

What color is depression awareness? ›

The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness. Wear a green ribbon to show colleagues, loved ones or simply those you walk past that you care about their mental health. It can also be worn in memory of a loved one.

What is another name for suicide? ›

Synonyms of suicide
  • murder.
  • self-murder.
  • martyrdom.
  • self-slaughter.
  • self-destruction.
  • assassination.
  • homicide.
  • killing.

What is the tattoo for suicide prevention? ›

The semicolon tattoo represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention.

What are examples of suicide mission? ›

Notable examples include the 1972 Munich massacre, the 1977 Landshut hijacking, the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege, the 1996 Japanese embassy hostage crisis, and the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis.

What triggers the suicide mission? ›

Overall, the main factor around how this Suicide Mission works is whether or not characters are loyal to you, if you upgraded the Normandy, and if you went through the Omega-4 Relay immediately after the Collectors took the crew.

Who should I pick for suicide mission? ›

If you're forced to pick one, and only care about everyone living through the suicide mission, then side with Jack. This is because Miranda is among the hardest characters to kill during the operation. Tali Vs. Legion: Tali and Legion also have a difference of opinion.

What should people with depression eat? ›

Try to eat something with protein several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy. Good sources of healthy proteins include beans and peas, lean beef, low-fat cheese, fish, milk, poultry, soy products, and yogurt. The right food choices may help lift your mood.

Which activities support a positive mood? ›

Fun activities to help improve your mood
  • Soaking in the bathtub.
  • Planning your career.
  • Collecting things, such as coins and shells.
  • Going for a holiday.
  • Recycling old items.
  • Relaxing.
  • Going on a date.
  • Going to a movie.

What is not good for depression? ›

If you eat lots of processed meat, fried food, refined cereals, candy, pastries, and high-fat dairy products, you're more likely to be anxious and depressed. A diet full of whole fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish can help keep you on a more even keel.

What are the five steps of the suicide assessment process? ›

The five-step assessment includes identification of risk and protective factors; conducting an inquiry about suicidality; determining level of risk and selecting an appropriate intervention; and documenting the process, including a follow-up plan.

What is mental health awareness training? ›

Introduction. Mental Health Awareness Training raises awareness of ill-mental health (particularly stress, depression, and anxiety). It offers a variety of strategies for daily wellbeing-management, whilst attempting to remove the stigma about mental health.

What four elements make up the suicide prevention program? ›

The following four elements of a care continuum must be included in any community's suicide prevention design: (1) screening and assessment for suicide risk, (2) intervention (safety planning, means restriction), (3) treatment responses (including direct treatment or referral depending on the setting and degree of risk ...

What are the three levels of strategies for suicide prevention? ›

It is common to divide the suicide prevention strategies into three levels:
  • Primary prevention: refers to the general population.
  • Secondary prevention: refers to risk groups.
  • Tertiary prevention: refers to people at high risk level.
Aug 16, 2021

What are the benefits of QPR training? ›

QPR training, also known as gatekeeper training, teaches people without professional mental health backgrounds to recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide, establish a dialogue, and guide the person to seek professional help.

How do you acknowledge World Mental Health Day? ›

In honor of the observance, we are sharing 10 achievable ways you can take action to protect and promote mental wellbeing today and every day.
  1. Share Your Mental Wellbeing Story. ...
  2. Add These Numbers to Your Contacts. ...
  3. Take a Mental Health Day. ...
  4. Find an MHFA Instructor in Your Community. ...
  5. Talk About Mental Wellbeing.
Oct 10, 2022

How can we raise awareness about mental health? ›

Talk About Mental Health Issues Openly

Talking openly about your own battles with mental health, and asking after and genuinely listening to your family and friends' responses can, in turn, encourage them to speak out about their symptoms and emotions and possibly seek help.

What should I post for World Mental Health Day? ›

Your World Mental Health Day post can include a personal story, statistics and other educational facts about mental health, or links to mental health resources. You can also come up with your own idea!

What is the role of teacher in preventing suicide? ›

Teachers can also play an active role in suicide prevention by fostering the emotional well-being of all students, not just those at high risk. Teachers are well positioned to promote a feeling of connectedness and belonging in the school community.

Why is prevention important in schools? ›

Together with protection, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts, prevention can help ensure that the school or school district has comprehensive procedures, policies, and plans in place to address possible threats and hazards.

Why should schools have a mental health policy? ›

A school mental health policy is a document that explains the school's commitment to its students' mental health. It outlines how the school will support its students, its ongoing commitment to staff training, and how it will work with the wider community to promote student wellbeing.

What is the key to hope? ›

Key to Hope is an organization that provides quality in-home behavioral therapeutic services to persons living with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and traumatic brain injury through private insurance and the Illinois Department of Human Services Medicaid waiver program.

What are the three parts of hope? ›

According to Snyder,1 there are three components associated with hope: 1) having goal-oriented thoughts; 2) developing strategies to achieve goals; and 3) being motivated to expend effort to achieve goals.

How do I bring hope into my life? ›

Taking time to press pause is sometimes the best action you can take to find that spirit of hope again.
  1. 2) Remember what you are thankful for. No matter how hard things get there is always something to be grateful for. ...
  2. 3) Limit your Bad News intake. ...
  3. 4) Focus on what you can look forward to. ...
  4. 5) Talk to hopeful people.

What does 💙 mean in texting? ›

The Blue Heart emoji 💙 depicts a classic representation of heart, colored blue. It can be used to express love, support, admiration, happiness, and excitement—particularly toward various things that have some relation to the color blue, from the Smurfs to Duke University to autism awareness.

What does it mean when a girl sends 🧡? ›

The 🧡 emoji says, “We're friends!” This orange-filled heart is the universal symbol for care and friendship. If your crush sends you an 🧡 emoji, they may be friend-zoning you. If a friend sends you an 🧡 emoji, you're likely BFFs. “You're my person 🧡”

What does it mean when a girl sends 💜? ›

What does 💜 mean from a girl? Who uses 💜 Purple Heart emoji? Like the many other heart emoji such as Red Heart ❤️ and Blue Heart 💙, the Purple Heart emoji 💜 is generally used to convey love and other strong, affectionate, positive feelings.

What does 🎀 mean from a girl? ›

Emoji Meaning

Often used to indicate something is pretty, cute, or special, including on holidays. Also used of various content concerning baby girls and for its pink or red color more generally.

What color does death mean? ›

The association of the colour black with death and loss is centuries old and is believed to have originated during Roman times.

What does a purple ribbon mean for death? ›

The purple and teal ribbon brings awareness and support to suicide prevention.

What colors represent awareness? ›

YellowSupport our troops, suicide prevention, genocide awareness, sarcoma and bone cancer awareness
GreenTissue and organ donation or transplants, mental health, mental illness, leukemia, environment, kidney neural tube defects, Save The Earth, Go Green, recycling
18 more rows

What does the purple bow stand for? ›

The purple ribbon is most commonly used to raise awareness for animal abuse, Alzheimer's disease, domestic violence, epilepsy, lupus, sarcoidosis, Crohn's disease and pancreatic cancer.

What are the colors for National Suicide Prevention Month? ›

Collaborate with local partners to light up bridges and/or buildings with suicide prevention month colors, teal and purple, during September.

What is the health awareness for September? ›

There are several awareness months celebrated in September — though the five that often get the most attention include Blood Cancer Awareness Month, National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month, Library Card Sign-up Month, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and World Alzheimer's Disease Month.

What color is the suicide heart? ›

PIN SPECIFICATIONS: This suicide awareness teal & purple ribbon heart pin is a silver heart shaped pin with a teal & purple ribbon. Each pin has the words "Suicide Awareness".

Why is September so important? ›

Some of the events in September include Teachers' Day, International Literacy Day, World First Aid Day, Hindi Diwas, Engineer's Day (India), International Day of Democracy, etc. We have shared the complete list of the important days in September here.

What do we raise awareness for in September? ›

Suicide is an uncomfortable topic to discuss but one that should be discussed openly and honestly. To help raise awareness and open the dialogue, September is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Why is World Health Day observed? ›

World Health Day (WHD) is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year, a theme is selected to highlight a priority area of public health concern in the world.


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