Some statistics about suicide:
– On an annual basis, around one million people (worldwide) kill themselves.
– On average, suicide claims a life every 40 seconds.
– That’s 3,000 deaths per day.
– More lives are lost to suicide than homicide and war combined.
These figures, incidentally, come from IASP – the International Association for Suicide Prevention – an organisation for whom today, September 10th 2014, is a significant occasion.
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day. This is of particular interest to us, for obvious reasons.
Mental Health problems can be a major factor in suicide and certain issues encountered on a regular basis here (substance misuse, for instance, anxiety, bullying and isolation) often contribute.
In citing the statistics above, the World Health Organisation’s first global report on suicide prevention, published in recent days, made for difficult reading.
But although the latest research has found that, globally, suicide is the second highest cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds, when it comes to children and young people here in the UK, the situation isn’t quite as bad as it might appear at first glance.
Yes, unbearably, young people sometimes kill themselves.
Yes, suicide is often a threat to those experiencing certain mental difficulties.
Yes, more must be done to safeguard those most at risk.
But, despite the general perception, suicide in the UK (in this age group at least) is quite rare.
In 2011, for instance, 194 15 to 19-year-olds killed themselves in the UK.
Make no mistake, this is 194 too many, and as parents and professionals, we must do everything in our power to bring this number down. But this isn’t quite the epidemic that the headline figures might suggest and, with greater awareness and understanding, this is a problem that can be addressed.
Education, as in all things, is imperative and for anyone concerned about another’s wellbeing, knowing the things to look out for is all important.
The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is One World Connected, with IASP determined to stress that social isolation increases suicide risk.
To quote Prof Ella Arensman, the IASP president, ‘We must become better at reaching out to people who have become disconnected from others, or who have become isolated. Isolation can increase the risk of suicide’.
Here at CPUK, we couldn’t agree more.
Isolation and a lack of support can do significant damage to those experiencing certain difficulties and, sometimes, suicide can be a consequence. Communication is important. It’s good to talk. Sometimes even making choices which seem a little risky in the short term (therapeutic risks) are worth it in the long term, improving health and wellbeing.
Concerned about a young person? Encourage engagement (with a friend, a teacher or another adult if necessary) or seek professional help. Here at CPUK, we know the things to look out for and how best to address the surrounding issues.
We know the impact that things like low self-esteem, bullying and questions about sexuality can have upon a young person. We know that problems within the family, such as neglect, abuse or the loss of a parent, can prove burdensome. We know that a physical illness (epilepsy, cancer or diabetes, for instance) or a psychiatric disorder (such as anxiety or depression) can lead to suicidal thought. We know that boys are at greater risk than girls, but every young person needs their individual risk to be considered.
Here at CPUK, we’re committed to suicide prevention and anything that helps to reduce that risk and, although we’re keen to stress that suicide remains rare, we’re always on hand to offer help, support and guidance to those experiencing problems themselves or those concerned about others.
Like to talk? Use our contact form or give us a call on 01661 852325.