Take a Minute, Change a Life #SuicidePrevention

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year the theme for this noble initiative is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’

Statistics reveal that more than 800,000 — one person every 40 seconds — die by suicide each year. Up to 25 times more, or as many as 20,000,000 people attempt suicide.

Every single successful or attempted suicide has grave and cruel consequences. It is not just the death of a person, but it is a tragedy of epic proportions for the people left behind – the family and friends.

Suicide does not take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.

As we know that suicide is preventable. And we all can do our bit and prevent it. We can do it by understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health and in doing so we can help others in crisis, and make a difference.

Know the Warning Signs

Warning Signs Suicide

Know the Risk Factors for Suicide

Risk Factors for Suicide

It’s common for people to think that talking about suicide increases the risk. It is generally believed that if a person is going to kill themselves, there’s nothing one can do. If you try to stop them, they’ll just bide their time and do it later.

However, data shows that suicidal intention is transient.

A suicidal person is looking for help and support. He may feel relieved and cared for. He may be looking for an opportunity to share his distress.

It is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support, compassion and empathy, listening in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

So… Take a minute, change a life.

I read a story at Corinne’s blog. It said, “A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a note “I’m walking to the bridge,” begins a Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. “If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled!”… If only someone took a minute…

Why take a minute? Because taking a minute to observe and think can make a difference. Because conversations change lives. So, wherever you are, have that conversation that could save someone’s life.

My other posts on  #SuicidePrevention are

Stigma : A Barrier to Suicide Prevention (2013)

Connect for Suicide Prevention (2014)

Myths and Facts about Suicide (2015)

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  1. I can never forget that story. The more people write about suicide prevention the better. We need awareness and empathy like never before because the stresses are higher than ever.

    • Yes, that’s such a heartbreaking and haunting story!!
      True, we need more awareness and education about the mental health issues. And hope that makes a difference!

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Simon!
      Yes, we need more people to talk about suicide prevention and awareness of mental health issues!

  2. The statistics are scary… it also reveals how we tend to ignore the signs that leads to suicide. The story from Corinne’s blog is so powerful. If only we reach out to those who need our help.

    • True, if the family and friends know the signs and symptoms of depression or suicide ideation, may be they can help prevent it.
      Oh, that story just keeps reverberating in my head. It was sooooo sad.

  3. Wonderful post on this topic. And I remember that story too of the man at the bridge… had planned to include it in my article but could not remember where I had read it from… such a heartbreaking yet telling incident it was.

    • I dont know if we can avoid such things. But yes, we can make our kids aware and be vigilant and have open channels of communication with them!

  4. I know what you mean, Shilpa. Most times we are so wrapped up in our own lives that we hardly pay attention to others around us. Depression and mental illness are a reality and so is suicide.

  5. I loved that story on Corinne’s blog too Shilpa- its got such a powerful message that all of really need to think about it. Yes suicide is terrible for the ones left behind as they can never stop wondering “why” and h”how” they could have helped it! Its a terrible ordeal inflicted on the loved ones – something they never get over it. One of the closest person in my life did it and to date I feel guilty for never even sensing it or knowing that they were depressed!!

    • True. The family that is left behind is never the same again. Thoughts that they could have prevented it, can be a living nightmare. They live a a life ridden with guilt and have to fight their inner turmoil, every day.
      I am so sorry for your loss, Shalini.

  6. The story you shared at the end was heartbreaking! Really, a minute can save a human life, a few words (spoken at the right time) and a patient hearing save not just the one involved but also his entire circle of family and friends.

    • Agree with you, Shilpa. Connect is so important with people who are depressed and or contemplating suicide. Even if the other person is not able to provide immediate solution to the problem, an empathetic ear, a touch, a smile, a kind word, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all have the potential to turn a life around.

  7. Very well written shilpa, was happy to read your post and you covered the warning signs and risk factors colorfully:) Its a public health issue now and we need to not only share through our writings but also spread awareness in whatever ways we can, sure – “Take a minute…. Change a life” I was glad to participate in a 2k run in Hyderabad on that day and felt so good almost 900 people gathered with placards and it was a public meeting. We work closely with the Telengana Psychiatric society… this month its full of awareness continued… thank you for sharing.

    • I read your post and saw your pics too. Proud of you, Genevive for doing your bit in helping raise awareness for this. Thank you!!

  8. I read that post on Corinne’s blog as well, and it struck me how even the smallest gestures may make a huge difference in someone’s life.

    When I was in college, my best friend’s brother committed suicide. Not even a year later, his best friend (who had witnessed him kill himself) also committed suicide. Those statistics are absolutely right, in that it affects those left behind in significant ways.

    • God! That is so devastating. It must be so hard for the friend to have witnessed it and not being able to help his friend.
      Yes, too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Thanks for dropping by Lynda!

  9. Thank you for sharing such an important message, Shilpa. When parents, friends, classmates, and coworkers understand the signs of suicidal tendencies then it is possible to prevent the act.. Hugs to you and anyone who is suffering… xxoo

    • True, if we are aware of the signs and symptoms, may be we can help save a life. Thanks for reading, Christy! Hug to you too!

  10. The quotes on Corinne’s blog makes the heart heavy. There is often a lack of understanding of what the person go through. You’ve given great points through the illustration on suicide and hope it will help people whose loved ones are going through a bad phase.

    • I can never forget this Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. So sad and heartbreaking it is.
      Hope we can help create awareness and help prevent suicides.

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