World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is something that most of us are familiar with. The 10th of September every year recognises the work done globally to raise awareness of suicide and its impact, and to remember those who have lost their lives.
Each year, we see more and more of us organising events for our local communities, and some of the more adventurous of us participate in the annual challenge to ‘cycle around the globe’. Taking a bike ride (long or short) on behalf of WSPD is a fun way to promote a serious message - the collective miles/kilometres ridden represents connecting communities around the world in a common goal, to raise awareness and reduce suicide.
It is through activities in the local community by the community that the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) believes real achievements in suicide prevention can be made. Whilst WSPD focuses on one day, much is being done throughout the year, and it is this that we at IASP would like to hear about. Each country has an elected National Representative who’s mission it is to connect and engage with anyone or any service that is working to promote suicide prevention in their local area and/or nationally. Work that is helping or supporting those vulnerable to suicide, or those who have been bereaved; Work that is helping raise awareness and/or adding to the knowledge we have to improve the way we do things; and work that is educating the community and/or training frontline staff and volunteers.
As the National Representative for the UK, I would like to build a network across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that shares the work we are doing both nationally and also with the global IASP community. Collective shared knowledge is how we will break down barriers, reduce stigma and make a difference across communities worldwide.