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World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

SEPTEMBER 10, 2006

Media Release
Friday 8 September 2006

At a media conference on September 8, 2006 at the World Health Organization United Nations Offices in New York, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) announced the Fourth World Suicide Prevention Day to be held on September 10, 2006.

Throughout the world, national and local events, including conferences, meetings, concerts and activities with spiritual or cultural contents have been organized to enhance understanding about suicide and to demonstrate ways in which knowledge about suicide can be translated into effective suicide prevention programmes. This year’s theme “With Understanding, New Hope” emphasizes the importance of translating our knowledge and understanding of suicide into the development of effective suicide prevention strategies and programmes.

“In this age of preoccupation with global violence, terrorism and homicides, we often ignore the fact that worldwide more people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist acts and interpersonal violence combined,” said Professor Brian Mishara, the President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

“More than a million people worldwide die by suicide each year, many millions make suicide attempts severe enough to need medical treatment and many millions are affected by the disastrous impact of a suicide. We have now developed enough understanding of suicide to prevent a significant proportion of these tragic deaths, to treat suicidal individuals and help families bereaved by suicide. “

“There is a great need to translate our very considerable knowledge about why people attempt to take their lives into effective strategies, policies, programmes and services, to reduce the tragic loss of lives and the devastating effects of suicidal behaviour.

Promising areas for suicide prevention include improving mental health treatment and management, educating physicians, restricting access to lethal means of suicide, educating the community, providing help in crisis situations, providing support after suicide attempts and improving media coverage of suicide.”

“We need to use our knowledge to develop coordinated and comprehensive suicide prevention initiatives throughout the world, adapted to local cultures and resources, to reduce the number of completed suicides, suicide attempts and the consequences of suicide and self-destructive behaviours,” said Professor Mishara.

Suicide is the result of a complex interaction of causal factors, including mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, social isolation, losses, relational difficulties and workplace problems. To be effective, suicide prevention needs to incorporate a multi-faceted approach that acknowledges the multiple causes and pathways to suicidal behaviour and involves health and mental health professionals, volunteers, researchers, families and others bereaved by suicide as well as central and local governments, education, justice, police, employers, religious leaders, politicians and the media.

“The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2006, With Understanding New Hope, is an opportunity for persons with experience in understanding suicidal behaviour, including researchers, clinicians and practitioners, to share their knowledge and highlight ways this knowledge can be applied to suicide prevention activities, programmes and policies. Public forums, educational activities and awareness campaigns throughout the world are being held on September 10. It is our hope that these activities will help change public attitudes and increase awareness and knowledge about suicide as a major public health problem that is preventable,” said Professor Mishara.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention was founded in Vienna in 1960 as a working fellowship of researchers, clinicians, practitioners, volunteers and national and local organizations of many kinds.

IASP, in official relation with the World Health Organization and in collaboration with the World Federation for Mental Health, believes that suicide prevention should be given greater priority at national, regional and local levels to incorporate research knowledge that has shown that suicide is preventable. Examples of activities held on this day in different countries are posted on the IASP Website: www.iasp.info.

ENDS

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