World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day: We’ve come a long way, but still have work to do
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is marking the day by acknowledging all the extraordinary work that is being carried out throughout New Zealand to prevent suicide in our communities.
Hundreds of Kiwis are working every day to prevent suicide. They work across a range of sectors, and come from many different backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: they care deeply about the work they do and the people they work with.
Today is a day of action, education, and remembrance; an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, and to remind ourselves of how much there is still to be done.
The theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is Stigma: a major barrier to suicide prevention.
“Stigma can be the result of many factors, including sexual orientation, gender identity, culture, ethnicity, or a diagnosis of a mental illness,” says Moira Clunie, Development Manager for Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand.
“Stigma makes people feel isolated, putting them at risk of suicide. We all need to work together to break down the stigma that is caused by ignorance and fear of things we simply don’t understand. In doing so, we can ensure that people who are at risk of suicide or have been bereaved by suicide don’t feel alone and are not afraid to seek help.”
One of the biggest protective factors for suicide and mental illness is being connected.
“Remember the Like Minds, Like Mine message," says Ms Clunie, "Be there, stay involved. Reach out to people who may feel lonely or be in distress and offer them support and help.
“Many people feel helpless when it comes to suicide prevention, but staying connected with people who are struggling is something we can all do, and it makes a big difference.”