By Olivia Kirtley.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) released the first ever World Suicide Report, showing that around 800,000 people die by suicide each year. In fact, around the world, one person will die by suicide every 40 seconds, which means in the time it’s taken me to write these few sentences, around 14 people have taken their own lives. Every mortality statistic in suicide research represents many personal tragedies. Sometimes I find the sheer scale of the task in front of us, as suicide researchers, overwhelming. But all around the world, people are doing something to try and reduce suicide.
The sad death of Robin Williams last month prompted an outpouring of tributes and stories of people’s favourite memories of him. One of the things I remember Robin Williams for the most, is his role as inspirational teacher Mr Keating in the Dead Poets Society. In one scene, he stands on his desk and asks his students why he is doing this. He says: “I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote recently and how if we’re going to reduce suicides, we need to look at suicide in a different way.
Continue reading this article at >> IHAWKES (original publication)
Olivia Kirtley is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium and Honorary Research Fellow in the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory at the University of Glasgow.