World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Various events and activities are held during this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
World Suicide Prevention Day promotes issues such as suicide prevention. This photo is used for illustrative purposes only. It does not imply the attitudes, behaviour or actions of the models used for this photo. ©iStockphoto.com/Valentin Casarsa
Nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily, according to the World Health Organization. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. About one million people die by suicide each year. Suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death which is influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through worldwide responses that address these main risk factors. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.
World Suicide Prevention Day, which first started in 2003, is annually held on September 10 each year as an IASP initiative. The World Health Organization co-sponsors this event. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to:
- Raise awareness that suicide is preventable.
- Improve education about suicide.
- Spread information about suicide awareness.
- Decrease stigmatization regarding suicide.
In Australia our annual toll of deaths by suicide is greater than the number of deaths on our roads, yet we only hear about the road toll. Mental health organisations are making slow but steady inroads into the macho culture of Australia and getting politicians and fund holders to realise that reducing the mental health burden of our country is good for our country’s health – fiscal, physical and mental.
There are plenty of places to go if you think you or someone you know might be in need of help to cope with anxiety, depression of suicidal thoughts. Try any of these:
- Lifeline Australia – tel 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
- Suicide Line (only in Victoria, Australia) – 1300 651 251
- SANE Australia – 1800 18 SANE (7263)
A Singaporean and Australian co-study, 189 Australian and 243 Singaporean university students (therefore, not a typical subset of the population, please note) completed the ‘Life Orientation Test-Revised’ and found some interesting differences.
Australians tended to be more agreeable, more conscientious, more optimistic and more satisfied with their lives.
On the other hand, Singaporeans tended to be more neurotic and pessimistic.
Using regression analysis, the researchers found that ‘optimism’ is the only significant predictor for life satisfaction.
Which means that if we want to be satisfied with our lives, being optimistic is an essential psychological component; without it we won’t be satisfied.
Similarly, if we want to be less stressed, we need to be less neurotic.
I know, it sounds obvious, doesn’t it. But obvious or not, such findings lend credence to previous findings that neuroticism is not a single ‘thing’ in our psychology, but comprised of many things (such as a lack of optimism, self-doubt, self-blame, emotional instability and worry).
Optimism, on the other hand, is a singular element in our psychology – you either have/create it within you or you don’t.
There is a difference, allegedly, between how the two nationalities deal with stress: Australians use more ‘tactics’ (both helpful and not-so-helpful) such as:
- substance use/abuse
- emotional support
- behavioural disengagement
- venting and self-blaming
- acceptance (the ‘it is what it is’ or ‘build a bridge and get over it’ tactic)
Singaporeans, however, when faced with stressful situations are less likely to use any of the above positive tactics, which the authors of the study suggest may imply a general apathy toward coping tactics, no matter how adaptable that tactic might be to the situation at hand.
Wong, S.S.; Lee, B.O.; Ang, R.P.; Oei, T.P.S.; & Ng, A.K. 2009. Personality, Health, and Coping: A cross-national study. Cross-Cultural Research, 43, 3; pp. 251-279
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