Unfortunately, we live in a world that places a stigma on mental health disorders and suicidal behaviors. This stigma commonly prevents seniors from seeking professional help, never knowing that treatment has saved lives time and again. With the number of suicides rising each year, education is key. Enter World Suicide Prevention Day, co-sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
History of Suicide Prevention
Suicide claims more lives than war and homicide combined. Suicide rates have risen in the United States over the past decade, after declining over the previous 10 years. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a sharp increase in suicide among middle-age Americans, with the rate rising by almost 30 percent for people ages 35 to 64 between 1999 and 2010. These numbers encouraged the creation of World Suicide Prevention Day
For the last 11 years, September has served as Suicide Prevention month. This event calls attention to treatable mental health issues that are directly related to suicidal attempts. Events are scheduled in at least 60 countries and range from public awareness to seminars and walks for survivors. Hundreds of organizations are taking part this year, opting to be pro-active in spreading the word about suicide.
Many events will work within this year’s theme, “Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention.” Ridding the world of mental illness stigma can help people currently contemplating suicide, while also offering support to their loved ones.
The core worldwide event has been labeled “Cycle Around the Globe,” and it invites participants to raise suicide awareness while collectively biking the 24,900-mile. Why the odd distance requirement? Organizers set it up that way because 24,900 miles are equivalent to the circumference of Earth.
Why are Seniors at Risk?
Suicide is quite common among seniors, as they can become bombarded with suicidal triggers. Once experiencing a trigger, most seniors are unequipped to navigate the issues. Some common catalysts among seniors include:
- Chronic Illness
- Physical Inadequacies
- Substance Abuse or Addiction
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