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Suicide Prevention – Creating Hope Through Action

Written by: Andrew Cowie, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Andrew Cowie

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place this Sunday, 10th September, and everyone can get involved in spreading its global message.

World Suicide Prevention Day  photo.

The annual awareness day has now been running for 20 years, organised by a partnership of the World Health Organisation and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

Creating hope through action

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Creating Hope Through Action” and the IASP has suggested several ways that individuals and organisations can get involved.

  • Cycle around the globe – from 10th September to 10th October the campaign will host a free virtual cycling event, encouraging participants to cycle any distance on any road, track or gym with the aim of working together to help prevent suicide.

  • Organising your own event to raise awareness of suicide prevention, with a range of suggested activities for organisations to run.

  • Lighting a candle at 8pm on 10th September to acknowledge your support for suicide prevention.

  • Using the official hashtags on social media – world suicide prevention day, creating hope through action, wspd, wspd2023, be the light

WSPD continues to grow year on year, with recent events seeing the day observed in more than 60 countries with hundreds of initiatives ranging from educational and commemorative events to press briefings and public conferences. Coverage on the internet and social media has helped the message reach millions of people worldwide.

At the launch of the inaugural WSPD in 2003, the then IASP President Professor De Leo said: “World Suicide Prevention Day aims to put the issue on the agenda globally and regionally, but it also seeks to show that action must be taken locally – and this action starts with you and me. The day underlines the responsibility for all of us to help save lives that may be at stake. It is possible – we can do it.”

At Phoenix Coaching & Therapy, we frequently witness the impact of suicide on people’s lives. In the West Fife area of Scotland where I live, a total of six young men took their own lives in the space of just seven weeks in 2019.

Responsibility for addressing this issue rests not just with healthcare professionals but with the entire community. Everyone has a role to play, whether it's by taking the time to check on a neighbour you haven't seen for several days, providing a friendly ear to someone who seems down or getting actively involved through charitable efforts.

Unfortunately some people still think that depression is trivial and don't see it as a genuine health condition. They’re wrong. Depression is a very real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can just “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”, "manning up" or "growing a pair".

In fact, the very use of such phrases will only exacerbate the sufferer's condition and drive them deeper into negative introspection, particularly when it comes to young men who tend to feel extra pressure to bottle up their emotions until they reach breaking point.

Suicide statistics

Male suicide is rising at such an alarming rate that it's been classified as “a silent epidemic”. It's the seventh leading cause of male death overall and the second most common cause of death in men aged 10-39.

Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

These shocking statistics highlight the dangers of suppressing negative feelings and the urgent need to do away with old fashioned macho attitudes. People generally, and young men in particular, need to know that it's okay to talk about their feelings and that doing so is actually a sign of strength, not weakness.

Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.

Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, but also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of taking their own lives.

In the UK, initiatives such as Andy’s Man Club have played a key role in combating male suicide by offering peer-to-peer support groups across the country and online aimed at helping men through the power of conversation.

Preventing suicide is often possible and you can be a key player. You can make a difference – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour.

Call to action

There are many things that you can do daily, and also on World Suicide Prevention Day, to prevent suicidal behaviour. You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs to look out for, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with mental health problems and share your own experiences.

It takes work to prevent suicide but the positive benefits of this work are infinite and sustainable and can have a massive impact. The work can affect not only those in distress but also their loved ones, those working in the area and also society as a whole.

Joining together is critical as preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.

Helping people to overcome mental health issues is at the absolute forefront of the work we do at Phoenix Coaching & Therapy. If you’d like to know more about the significant range of services we offer, visit Phoenix Coaching & Therapy or contact us here for details. We also have a vast range of resources available to download from our online store.

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and visit my website!

Andrew Cowie Brainz Magazine

Andrew Cowie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Andrew Cowie is a transformational life coach, psychotherapist, and author dedicated to helping people overcome adversity and achieve their full potential. He came to the world of therapy after a 20-year career in newspaper journalism was brought to an abrupt end by severe burnout. In the course of his own recovery, he was introduced to meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, yoga, martial arts, and NLP. He went on to retrain some of the world's leading spiritual and personal development teachers to become an expert in these fields. Andrew has since dedicated his life to passing on this knowledge, synthesizing the various disciplines into one overarching system blending ancient spiritual practices with the latest cutting-edge techniques from the field of modern psychology. He is the owner of Phoenix Coaching & Therapy and the founder of its associated 'magical training school' The Ancient and Mystical Hermetic Order of the Phoenix (AMHOP). His debut book Rise Like a Phoenix was published in 2021 and is described as a manual for personal regeneration. Andrew works with clients worldwide and is passionate about mental health and exploring the latent potential of the human mind.



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