World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD)
As the mother relayed the events of the day, no one was prepared for what was coming. A simple altercation had pushed Lisa, her only teenage daughter over the mental edge that led to death. They all thought she was joking when she told the family they were never going to see her again. To say I was shocked when I heard the news is an understatement.
Lisa’s death tore me. I had to gather strength to get out of bed for days to come. She was the last I thought of before going to bed and the first on my mind each morning. The deeper part of me groaned, the heart of a mother trying to comprehend the devastating loss. If I felt this way, what of her loved ones? It had only been a few months knowing her, my new-found friend and hairdresser. So humble, respectful, always adorned with a smile that came from the deepest parts of her heart and full of potential.
The mother was doing well to empower her daughter and keeping her off the streets and drugs. Lisa worked wonders with her hands, and I vouched to support as much as I could even through referrals. However, all efforts were short-lived as Lisa never gave the Author of life the chance to pluck his own rose, she took her own life by drinking rat poison. Spreading like the Corona Virus 19, the neighbourhood was plunged into darkness in the days to follow, as news of suicides especially among teenagers took centre stage.
Suicide rates are rising worldwide, many being attributed to alcohol, drugs and of late, gender- based violence. According to an article published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2022, every 45 seconds someone takes their life. Another article by WHO published on the 17 June 2021, stated the following as the key facts regarding suicide:
- More than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year.
- For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
- Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds.
- 77% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
Established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Suicide Prevention Day, is a great initiative observed on 10 September every year. According to IASP, this day exists as a platform to raise awareness of suicide and to promote preventative measures with the aim to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally. The day is running under the theme, Creating Hope Through Action, a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us. Each suicide statistic is one too many. Now the question remains; is enough being done to prevent suicides and how can we partner with such initiatives to raise the necessary awareness? As MyAfrika mag, we take time to raise our voice in solidarity with IASP, WHO and the rest of the world. Everyone can and ought to play a role, life is precious.