World Suicide Prevention Day 2014
10 September 2014 was International Suicide Prevention Day. Globally, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. In England & Wales, suicide is the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds, and the leading cause of death in men aged 20-49.
There is no single reason why someone may try to take their own life, but certain things can increase the risk.
A person may be more likely to have suicidal thoughts if they have a mental health condition, such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Misusing alcohol or drugs and having poor job security can also make a person more vulnerable.
It is not always possible to prevent suicidal thoughts, but keeping your mind healthy with regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining friendships can help you cope better with stressful or upsetting situations.
Marc Rowland GP in Lewisham said: "Although it can be difficult, if you are having suicidal thoughts it is really important to talk to someone you can trust. This could be a family member, a friend or a health or social care professional. You should also talk to your GP, who can help with mental health problems by providing advice and treatment, such as medication or counselling."
Five steps to mental wellbeing
- Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
- Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
- Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
- Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
- Take notice – be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness", and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
For more information on the five steps to mental wellbeing, see the NHS Choices website.
Help and support
- Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you are feeling, or if you are worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number will not show up on your phone bill.