World Suicide Prevention Day Should Be EVERY Day


Every 40 seconds somebody takes their own life. Suicide is a huge problem and the statistics aren't showing any sign of decreasing, meaning days like Suicide Prevention Day are still so necessary. However, despite this day being around for such a long time, suicide still exists. Of course, just by naming a day "Suicide Prevention Day," suicide isn't going to cease, however, more needs to be done in order to tackle this prevalent issue in our society.

You don't need me to tell you that mental health needs to be spoken about more. You don't need me to tell you that we need to listen when people talk about their feelings. You don't need me to tell you that more needs to be done to assist those living with mental illnesses and suicidal thoughts. Those things have been said on a loop for years. Each day, you'll come across people online preaching about how more needs to be done to reduce the number of people killing themselves each year. Charities and organisations exist, counsellors and doctors are available, adverts are shown on TV, posters are displayed around schools, movies about suicide are made...but we still need to do MORE. Don't ask me to define 'more' because, truthfully, I can't. I guess more just means doing more of what we're already doing. It sounds laborious, putting up more posters, making more movies, more adverts...but what else are we to do? We need more of the elements of suicide prevention that are already in place and one thing we can do is by ensuring that every day truly is suicide prevention day.

It's okay to send one Tweet with a hashtag one day a year to let people know that you are there for them, but that isn't enough. Every Suicide Prevention Day, every Anti Bullying Day, every Mental Health Awareness Day, we speak relentlessly about the importance of supporting those in need but what about the other 364 days of the year? It takes a lot more than one reminder one day a year to seriously tackle mental health issues head on. The spotlight ought to be shone on the issue of suicide whenever possible, not to make everything negative and miserable, but to remind those with deadly thoughts that, no matter the time of year, there are people willing to help them out of their dark patch.
Any conversation regarding suicide is an uncomfortable one to have, making it taboo. Nobody wants to be the one to bring it up, whether they're dealing with suicidal thoughts themselves or not, meaning the initial thing that we must do is beat the stigma surrounding suicide. Suicidal people are shamed for having these thoughts. They are bullied into believing it is weak to be suicidal. They are forced to believe that, if they don't talk about their negative emotions, they'll simply go away. That isn't the case. By silencing suicidal people, by not allowing them to speak out, by forcing them to just "get on with things," those thoughts aren't ceasing, but rather multiplying. They're left to simmer in the brain of someone who is in need of desperate help yet isn't able to obtain it. We must break this barrier and remind suicidal thought sufferers that 1) having the courage to speak out is a strength and far from a weakness and that 2) by speaking out, they will find help. We need to create warm, loving, supportive environments for suicidal people to have these terrifying conversations in, rather than making talking about suicide seem the scariest concept in existence. Humans aren't great at talking about their emotions, usually, unless they're positive, but why must it be this way? Our thoughts and feelings are what make us who we are and are not things we should feel ashamed of. We must feel able to have conversations about, not just our happy thoughts, but our darkest ones too because not only will this help us find solace with ourselves, but it shall connect us with others who are experiencing the same things.

We all need to educate ourselves on the harsh reality of suicide, because one can simply never be too educated. Just because we haven't experienced suicidal thougths or know someone personally who has, that doesn't mean suicide isn't our issue and we can just ignore it. Every day, people are killing themselves. They're failing to see a light at the end of the tunnel and there are things we can all do about that. We need to make the world more friendly for mental illness sufferers, we need to reach out to them rather than refusing to get involved because we can't be bothered. Every human being is your sibling, therefore, we all have a responsibility to protect one another. Suicide is real, it's happening right now as we speak but we can seriously decrease the suicide rates if we just start putting in a little more effort and simply caring a little bit more. We need to make a conscious effort to uplift one another, to choose our words carefully, to remove the stigma, to be kind, to welcome people into our lives and to remind those around us that it's okay and it's acceptable to feel down and lost. I'm not just talking about putting up one poster in schools until it falls off the wall and people trample on it instead of reading it. I'm not just talking about making one TV series every now and again which doesn't accurately depict what it's like to be suicidal, like 13 Reasons Why. I'm not just talking about only mentioning suicide when a famous person kills themselves, because it shouldn't take something like that to make us realise how big of an issue it is. I'm talking about actually incorporating actively preventing suicide into our daily lives because people are living with these thoughts every day. Just because we can't seem them, doesn't mean they don't exist. We all need to be do more for the sake of humanity. Be a better person. Start the conversation. Sometimes, it can just begin with asking people how they are.

Suicidal thoughts are extremely isolating, leaving the sufferer to believe they're the only one experiencing them, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, religion or background...suicidal thoughts do not discriminate and it's vital that we recognise that. They aim to devalue you, to make you question your own worth, sanity and existence. They wish to beat and batter you until you are nothing more than a ghost of the person you used to be. Suicidal thoughts, no matter how hard I try, aren't something I can explain until you actually have them yourself, but this is why we need to start having the conversation. We need to talk to one another. In 2017, it seems to be "cool" to lock yourself in your bedroom, to eat away your feelings and to be unsociable. Sure, that's great to a certain extent but not when it's having a detrimental impact on your mental well being. Having conversations with people is cool. In fact, it's way cooler than bottling your demons up inside until they eat you alive. No one deserves to feel locked inside their own mind, imprisoned with their dark thoughts and as if there is no way out of the hell which they are experiencing. We all deserve to live our best lives. We deserve to have amazing opportunities, to do exciting things with exciting people and to fulfil every dream we've ever had.

The pain caused by suicidal thoughts is lying to you, if you have them. By allowing this pain to crush you and see yourself in a negative way, it is winning. It doesn't deserve to win. You are worthy of a life of hope and happiness and deserve to exist far more than the demons inside your mind do. No matter how hard these thoughts try to consume you, remember you are not alone. In a world of billions, it's impossible for you to be the only one. Of course, me sitting here telling you that everything is going to be okay is absolutely futile. You've probably read those words hundreds of times and they haven't made a difference but, the fact that you're still reading them means there is strength within you. If you have lived with suicidal thoughts, whether that's been for one day or one hundred, you're showing signs of bravery, which is so admirable. Fighting an internal battle as hard as this each day, which no one else is aware of, that is true courage. And, if you've managed to do it up until this point, you can carry on and you can beat these horrid thoughts and you can WIN the battle. You are loved, regardless of how hard you or others try to convince you otherwise. You are special. You are successful. You are inspirational. You are capable of incredible things. You are beautiful and, most importantly, you are worthy of life, for you would not have been created and placed on this planet if that was not true. You deserve to life your life to the fullest in the ways that you see everyone else doing and there are millions of people willing to stand by your side, cheering you on as you do so. We pledge to be an ally, a friend, to be a supporter of you in both your brightest and darkest hours. We pledge to do more to uplift you and to be constant beacons of light when you are struggling. We pledge to do all we can to understand your battles, even if we never fully will. We vow to listen with open ears, open minds and open hearts and to create safe spaces for you to express how you truly feel for we want you here.

A list of international suicide hotlines:

Argentina: +5402234930430

Australia: 131114

Austria: 017133374

Belgium: 106

Botswana: 3911270

Brazil: 212339191

Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)

China: 85223820000

Croatia: 014833888

Denmark: +4570201201

Egypt: 7621602

Finland: 040-5032199

France: 0145394000

Germany: 08001810771

Holland: 09000767

India: 8888817666

Ireland: +4408457909090

Italy: 800860022

Japan: +810352869090

Mexico: 5255102550

New Zealand: 045861048

Norway: +4781533300

Philippines: 028969191

Poland: 5270000

Russia: 0078202577577

Spain: 914590050

South Africa: 0514445691

Sweden: 46317112400

Switzerland: 143

United Kingdom: 08457909090

USA: 18002738255
There is always a way out. <3

Love, Emily

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