“What is the origin of the teribble fears, that so hinder us in the making of our heart’s desire: a better world? How do we move from exculsion to inclusion? We move from the heart.
We begin the movement from fear to trust, from closedness to openess, from judgement and prejudice to forginveness and understanding. It is a movement of the heart. When we are no longer governed by fear, but by the heart, the center of all compassion, a movement begins and thus our very existence is.” – Jean Vainer
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day were we recognize that mental health, poverty, exculsion and stigma are leading concerns in our society. As the global landscape continues to shift and change; so does our need to understand, to find solitude and to find belonging. This day is very close to my heart, because I have bared witness to the devestation left behind of what suicide can do to family and friends. How this tragic and preventable dis-ease shakes you to the core and makes you question your very existence.
Over the course of my life I have lived through 4 suicides, my mothers suicide most recently, a close friends mother, a co-worker, and even when I was 15 found myself contemplating it myself. When we are young we have not experienced the world, we are still a product of our parents and as we come to terms with the changing landscape of adolesence it can be a hard to cope.
FACT: Seventy-three percent of hospital admissions for attempted suicide are for people between the ages of 15 and 44.
FACT: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24
Let my be frank for a moment, and let’s not sugar coat the obvious – suicide and depression can tear you apart, for those who struggle to find meaning and their place in the world, it can feel like an endless abyss of hurt, disappointment and fear. For family and friends of those who are left behind when someone takes their life – you find yourself guily ridden, confused, angry, riddled with questions that can never be truly answered. It is a road of recovery that is long and arduious. Suicide is the pink elephant. No one wants to talk about depression or feeling disconnected, yet it is more rampant then any of us realize. We need to open our eyes and open our hearts.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the globe commits suicide every 40 seconds. In the year 2000, 815,000 people lost their lives to suicide — more than double the number of people who die as a direct result of armed conflict every year (306,600). For people between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death and the sixth leading cause of disability and infirmity worldwide
World Suicide Prevention Day is held on September 10th each year. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. The WHO estimates that about one million people around the world die by suicide every year.
However, many countries still lack reliable suicide statistics, and even countries with reliable statistics may lack knowledge about the magnitude of the problem in (some of) their minority populations. This knowledge might also be challenging to acquire due to stigma having a larger impact in various minority groups compared to the majority. Nevertheless, such information is needed.
- Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
- In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide.
- Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide across the globe.
- Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.
- Both major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15 to 25 percent of all deaths by suicide in patients with severe mood disorders.
- Studies indicate that there is a significant correlation between a history of sexual abuse and the lifetime number of suicide attempts, and this correlation is twice as strong for women as for men.
- Poverty play a significant factor as it is a high risk stressor for depression and mood disorders.
There is hope, depression, mental illness and many other risk factors can be prevented and can stop the cycle of self hurt that leads to one contemplating ending their life. It comes from the heart and it has to be a suppotive network.
We a need to adopt multi-sectoral approach that involving many levels of intervention and activities. There is compelling evidence indicating that adequate prevention and treatment of depression and alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates, as well as follow-up contact with those who have attempted suicide.
Today is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals – to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the WHO to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
Canada is the only G8 country to NOT have a National Mental Health Policy. It is in my lifetime (preferrable over the next half decade) to see this rectified. We need parameters and we need massive support to break the cycle of fear and stigma on mental health and dis-ease in our global landscape.
To speak of the heart is not to speak of vaguely defined emotions but to speak of the very core of our being. The very foundation that connects us to another and to all the surrounds us. At the core, we all know we can be strengthened and rendered more truthful and more alive. It is in these situations where our hearts can be fortified and nourished.
I have always said that moving to place of compassion and emthapy for another – it is about the liberation of the human heart, we need to break down barriers, we need to share stories of what makes us human. It is a liberation that opens up and leads us to the discovery of our common humanity.