World Suicide Prevention Day: Importance and Significance


Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vikas Kumar Sharma

General Health

7 min read


Spreading awareness about World Suicide Prevention Day is crucial. Know the current theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 and read about the significance of the day to be aware 

Key Takeaways

  • There are multiple significances of World Suicide Prevention Day
  • "Creating hope through action" has been selected as the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD)
  • By raising awareness, we can prevent suicide worldwide on World Suicide Prevention Day

Every year, different communities and organizations of the whole world come together to do campaigns and raise awareness regarding the prevention of suicide on World Suicide Prevention Day. As American Foundation for Suicide Prevention mentions, about 1.2 million suicide attempts occurred in the U.S. in 2020, and 45,979 people died committing suicide [1]. As per the latest data, 153,050 people died by suicide in India in 2020, which is nearly 14,000 more than in 2019 [2]. Suicide is gradually becoming a significant concern for the whole world.

Suicides have many reasons, with depression, violence, and stressful life events being some of the most prevalent causes. World Suicide Prevention Day is the day for spreading awareness among the people of the whole world, and it is observed on the day of 10th September every year. WHO estimates that all over the world, 703,000 people die committing suicide every year in the whole world [3]. Although suicide can not be stopped, people can at least take a step to reduce it by spreading awareness among people.   

Additional read: 5 Effective Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

World Suicide Prevention Day 2022: Theme of the Day 

In 2022, the World Suicide Prevention Day theme was "Creating hope through action." It is a triennial theme for 2021 to 2023. It aims to inspire confidence and light in everyone and remind them that suicide is not the only option. Themes of WSPD in some other years were [4]:

  • WSPD 2004: Saving Lives, Restoring Hope 
  • WSPD 2005: Prevention of Suicide is Everybody's Business
  • WSPD 2006: With Understanding, New Hope
  • WSPD 2007: Suicide Prevention across the Life Span
  • WSPD 2008: Think Globally. Plan Nationally. Act Locally 
  • WSPD 2009: Suicide Prevention in Different Cultures
  • WSPD 2010: Many Faces, Many Places: Suicide Prevention Across the World
  • WSPD 2011: Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies
  • WSPD 2012: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope
  • WSPD 2013: Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention
  • WSPD 2014: Suicide Prevention: One World Connected
  • WSPD 2015: Preventing Suicide: Reaching out and Saving Lives
  • WSPD 2016: Connect. Communicate. Care
  • WSPD 2017: Take a Minute, Change a Life
  • WSPD 2018-2020 (triennial): Working Together to Prevent suicide
World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day: History 

Every year on 10th September, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed across the globe. The history of the day is about two decades old. On 10th September 2003, IASP (International Association for Suicide Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organisation) took the initiative to dedicate this day as World Suicide Prevention Day.

The day is focused on giving the world a message - Suicides are Preventable. IASP is an international non-governmental organization that works to spread awareness to prevent suicidal behaviour among people around the globe. Erwin Ringel and Norman Farberow founded IASP in 1960. The organization has won several awards for its excellence in research in suicidology.

The organization is spread across 78 countries worldwide and has 691 members. In the newsletter of IASP (July 2003), Professor De Leo, the then Honourable President of IASP, announced that World Suicide Prevention Day would be dedicated to those who have attempted suicide or to those close ones who died of it. He also said that this day is to make both government and people recognize suicide as an important problem for the whole world.

Some other historical facts regarding this day are:

  • In 2014, the WHO released a report - Preventing suicide: A Global Imperative, where the awareness and significance of the day were reported
  • On World Suicide Prevention Day, 2020, IASP produced a film - Step Closer, which gained a tremendous response 
  • IASP launched the "Universal Suicide Prevention Awareness Ribbon" in 2016, hoping to make it a recognizable one, like other ribbons for such worldwide issues (for example, The Red Ribbon for AIDS and Brown Ribbon for Anti-tobacco awareness). After public reviews, the ribbon was coloured yellow and orange. Yellow and orange indicate the light of a candle, which is a significant part of the "Light a Candle" campaign and candlelit walks
warning signs of Suicide and tips to Prevent

World Suicide Prevention Day: What is the Importance?

Today, World Suicide Prevention Day has reached more than 60 countries, thanks to social media and the media coverage that helped the day gain popularity worldwide. Hundreds of events are organized across the world to observe the day and spread awareness. Different educational, commemorative, press briefings and public conferences are held worldwide on that day.

IASP has started several campaigns and walks to observe the day over the world:  

  • IASP has started the "Light a Candle" campaign in which people are asked to light a candle near their windows at 8 pm. This is to show support for the day, save millions of people from committing suicide, and remember a lost one
  • IASP has organized an online "Candlelight Vigil," asking people to join them from 12:30 pm to 1 pm
  • "Out of the Darkness into the Light" campaigns are organized by many worldwide organizations to show support for the day

World Suicide Prevention Day and its Significance 

With every 40 seconds that pass, one person commits suicide anywhere in the world. It is a tragedy for the family and loved ones of the deceased when a person commits suicide. 79% of all suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.

However, the rate of suicide is the highest in high-income countries. Among individuals between 15 to 29 years, suicide is the second major cause of death worldwide. World Suicide Prevention Day is a significant step toward decreasing the amount of suicide in the whole world. The significances of World Suicide Prevention Day are:

  • People now understand why suicide is a problem in the modern age and the current statistics of suicide around the world 
  • People come to know about the possible threat factors of suicide  
  • People become aware of warning signs of suicide and how to prevent them  
  • It influences people to care more and be friendly with others around them
  • The day's focus is to make the government understand why suicide should be a major priority on the health agenda 
  • It is a day to remember the people who lost their lives committing suicide 

World Suicide Prevention Day: Reasons and Awareness 

The sole purpose of the day is to spread awareness about the millions of suicides that take place every year across the world. The world needs to recognize that suicide is a major global problem.  

  • Some common reasons for suicidal thoughts include mental health problems, loneliness, housing problems, financial problems, and different social abuse such as racism, sexual abuse, ragging, etc. People need to be aware of such common reasons for suicide  
  • People's mental health has become more susceptible during the coronavirus outbreak, and people have become more prone to anxiety, trauma, etc.  
  • Abnormal intake of some food like red meat, sweets, refined grains, and butter may pose an increased risk of depression. National Nutrition Week (1st September to 7th September in India) focuses on spreading awareness of balanced nutrition intake and normal food behaviour
  • Some physical injuries, like spinal cord injuries, may also cause some types of depression. Therefore, Spinal Cord Injury Day is observed on 5th September to spread awareness regarding Spinal Cord Injury
  • What people need to do is they have to take care of their loved ones and be concerned about whether there is any sign of depression or any mental health issues. Taking time to listen to people's words and caring more about them are the keys to caring for others  

10th September has gradually become popular through immense media coverage and social media. People worldwide responded, and signs of awareness have already been seen across society and nations. 

Additional read: Signs of Depression: 3 Major Facts

So before preventing suicides, we need to prevent the root causes. Unfortunately, many cases in which mental health problems go unnoticed for a long time. However, the issues may result in real-life challenges like difficulties in getting good marks in exams, avoiding people, struggling with relationships, preferring to stay alone, etc.

Instead of curing the problem and helping the person to uplift, people often blame the person's personality, character, or behaviour and sometimes start avoiding the person. Such blaming and ignorances eventually lead to psychosis, depression, suicidal thoughts, and ultimately suicidal attempts.

So, suicide is not something that people commit suddenly. It has deep roots in many past challenges. Suicides are preventable with appropriate measures and proper care. To notice any mental sickness, depression, or psychosis symptoms, consult a doctor today on Bajaj Finserv Health. It will help you understand any mental health issues you might face without noticing them.

Published on 7 Sep 2022Last updated on 13 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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