World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10th each year. World Mental Health Day 2019 is focused on suicide prevention. Every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide around the world. The World Health Organization is calling for “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.
- Improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem;
- Improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide;
- Reduce the stigma associated with suicide; and
- Let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.
The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
Veterans & Support
Sometimes, life’s challenges can feel overwhelming, especially for a Veteran retuning from duty and in recovery. When things feel unbearable, or if you’re having thoughts of ending your life, support is available. VA offers a number of programs and resources for Veterans and their loved ones, friends, and health care providers. If you are a Veteran in crisis — or you’re concerned about one — free, confidential support is available 24/7. Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, send a text message to 838255, or chat online.
Know the signs
Sometimes, a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide. Learn to recognize these warning signs:
- Hopelessness; feeling like there’s no way out
- Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
- Feeling like there is no reason to live
- Rage or anger
- Engaging in risky activities without thinking
- Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
- Withdrawing from family and friends
The presence of the following signs requires immediate attention:
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
- Looking for ways to kill yourself
- Talking about death, dying, or suicide
- Self-destructive behavior such as drug misuse, carelessly handling weapons, etc.
If you or the Veteran in your life is feeling depressed, anxious, hopeless, or as if life has no purpose, but is not in immediate danger, we encourage you to:
- Visit VeteransCrisisLine.net to learn about support that is available to you.
- Use our resource locator to discover the suicide prevention resources in your area, including VA medical centers and Suicide Prevention Coordinators.
- Visit MakeTheConnection.net to hear from Veterans and their family members who have coped with challenges like yours.
The VA recently launched the S.A.V.E. online suicide prevention training video in collaboration with PsychArmor Institute, a national nonprofit providing online education and support to those who work with, live with, or care for Service members, Veterans, and military and Veteran families. S.A.V.E. — which stands for “Signs,” “Ask,” “Validate,” and “Encourage” and “Expedite” — offers simple steps that anyone can take when talking with Veterans who are at risk for suicide.
Additional ideas from the World Health Organization
- If you are struggling, take 40 seconds to kickstart a conversation with someone you trust about how you are feeling.
- If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, take 40 seconds to start a conversation and ask them how they are doing.
- If you work in media, highlight the 40-second statistic in interviews, articles and blogposts.
- If you work in the arts or on digital platforms, add to your production or broadcast a 40-second message about mental health or preventing suicide.
- If you are an employer or manager, take 40 seconds to formulate a positive message of support to your employees about resources available to them in the workplace or local community in times of mental distress.
- If you want your leaders to hear your request for action, record a 40-second audio clip or video telling them the action you want them to take on suicide prevention and mental health.
- If you have a platform for communicating with a large audience (social media, television, radio), provide 40-second slots for sharing mental health stories and messages.
- If you hold political office, communicate publicly about action you are taking to promote mental health and prevent suicide, highlighting the 40-second statistic.