World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed on 10 September each year. The day is marked by an awareness-raising event organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). This year’s theme—“Take a Minute, Change a Life”—is about connecting with others and letting people know that #ITSOKAYTOTALK.
This year join TELL in changing lives by taking a minute to change a life.
Tragedy of suicide
In 2016, about 60 people ended their life each day in Japan. While the figure represents a drop from previous years, this number is just the tip of the iceberg when discussing the impact of suicide in the country.
WHO research suggests that, globally, for every suicide carried out, there are 25 attempts. New research also suggests that, for every suicide, about 130 people are affected. In Japan, this represents 1,500 attempts and more than 8,000 people affected every day.
The burden of suicide on individuals, families, friends, colleagues and our communities is unacceptable. The ripple effects are enormous, yet our lack of willingness to openly discuss the leading cause of suicide—mental illness—and support those struggling with mental health conditions continues. Every day, thousands of lives are being placed at risk and, increasingly, these are young lives.
Making a difference
Most people who die from suicide don’t want to die; they are struggling with a mental illness that they and most people around them don’t understand. Believing that they have failed everyone and will never get better, they cannot see any other way to end their pain.
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a real game changer. Contrary to popular belief, talking about suicide does not give someone the idea. Talking about it openly is one of the most helpful things one can do. Hearing from friends or family, or just being told that “it’s okay to talk” can make a huge difference to those considering suicide.
As parents, friends, teachers and colleagues, we all need to learn more about mental illnesses and to look around us for those who may be struggling. Mental illness, often first appearing in adolescence or childhood, affects one in four people. This means we all know someone who is struggling. Effective communication about mental illness in our schools, workplaces, universities and homes is essential if we are to break down the myths and stigma that prevent people accessing the support and treatment necessary for recovery.
TELL Tokyo Tower Climb
TELL is excited to be holding our first Tokyo Tower Climb on WSPD. Join us and others all over the world in making a big noise about suicide prevention at one of Tokyo’s most iconic structures. Help us fight the stigma of mental health with an exciting challenge that takes place alongside other endurance events at some of the world’s most famous buildings and towers. Whether you take part by yourself or form a team, every step you take will be helping to raise important funds to make the TELL Lifeline run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here for more information.
For the fourth consecutive year, on WSPD TELL will continue to hold our Talkie Walkie walks across Japan, talking to people, gathering signatures of support, and handing out information about suicide prevention and support in Japan. You can join one of our walks or hold your own walk to help TELL raise awareness about suicide prevention. Click here for more information.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to our Lifeline on 03-5477-0992. Please know there is support, hope and people who care. On the day before WSPD, TELL will launch a new overnight chat support service to help people who may be struggling throughout the night when our Lifeline is closed. This service will initially be offered on Saturday nights, with the goal of working over the next few years to cover every night.
On WSPD—and every day—it is important to remember how precious and sometimes precarious life is. Come and join one of our events, hold an event for us, or simply take a minute to reach out to someone—whether it’s a complete stranger, close family member or friend—and change the course of their life.