by Hayaa Tabba
“Every year, more people die as a result of suicide than HIV, malaria or breast cancer – or war and homicide” (WHO). Suicide prevention week was created to spread awareness and educate people about the importance of mental health, with steps to eliminate the stigma, support individuals who have attempted suicide to seek mental health help, and support families who have lost a loved one due to suicide. This year, (2021) suicide prevention week falls on September 5 – September 11.
One of the main goals of the suicide prevention week is to spread awareness as well as show support and understanding of the difficulties of living with the burden of declining mental health. While some people show signs, oftentimes, others tend not to be open about their “sadder” side. This may be due to the stigmas attached around the larger conversation. It is important to point out that males have a tougher time opening up and seeking help – side effects of the patriarchy.
During the week, many depression examinations are conducted by health organizations, which include self-administered and online assessments, and interested people are referred to a nationwide toll-free contact number. The week opens various opportunities for people who were previously too afraid to seek help or learn about a condition they may have from the comfort of their own bedrooms.
Another beneficial aspect the week brings is a sense of community. It shows victims that they are not alone. It brings people together to share their stories and listen to others. It proves that there is rehabilitation, and that life does get better. This can bring people an immense amount of peace or hope regarding their situations.
Overall, suicide prevention week is a way to learn about the topic that is slowly becoming prevalent. A week that we learn lessons that should be carried throughout the year. A week where someone who has felt alienated throughout their lives can feel like they are part of a larger community. And most importantly, a week that can save a life.