There are many official "days" that garner inordinate attention in media circles. You might scoff at World Cat Day, National Cupcake Day, or the clearly PR-generated "Clean Out Your Garage Day" (invented by the maker of garage-organization products), but there are causes for which awareness is an important endgame.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide takes one human life from the Earth every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Unlike other public health crises, it's something that can be combated on a micro, local, personal level. It's often one of the first serious health problems that young people confront in their lives—often on their own, away from adult involvement. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 29 years old, globally. But it's also preventable. Awareness is the first step.
The suicide of beloved comedian Robin Williams last month was a rare moment when the general public focused on a problem typically considered a taboo. Today, I encourage everyone to learn about suicide–the signs, the avenues for help, and how to support a friend. Then tell someone else to do the same. It only takes a few minutes, and your knowledge could save a life. For further reading on the latest research on suicide prevention, see below:
- Aversion to Therapy: Why Won't Men Get Help?: Research shows that men benefit from talk therapy just as much, if not more, than women. Yet most men still won’t go.
- What's Really Behind America's Suicide Epidemic?: The means—prescription drugs, access to firearms, bridges without prevention methods—play a much bigger role than any emotions or thought processes.
- The Life You Save May Be Everyone Else's: Fresh research on Facebook, fellowship, and “suicide clusters.”