World Mental Health Day
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year. The purpose of this is to raise awareness and educate the public about various mental illnesses such as Depression, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder and the impact of mental illness on individuals. According to World Health Organisation, 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lifetime. Around 450 million currently suffer from mental health conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. 
The theme of this year’s event is suicide and suicide prevention. Every year, close to 800,000 people globally take their own life and there are many people who attempt suicide. In 2018, there were 6,507 deaths by suicide reported in the UK. The rates of suicide have generally increased among the under 25’s, particularly 10-24-year-old females where the rate has increased significantly since 2012 to its highest level with 3.3 deaths per 100,000 females in 2018. 
Every suicide is a tragedy which also affects families and communities and has a long-lasting effect on the people left behind. The taboo and stigma surrounding suicide causes some individuals not to seek help and isolate themselves. Therefore, it’s important to understand the psychological processes that underlie suicidal thoughts and the factors that can lead to feelings of hopelessness or despair. There are several risk factors that increase the vulnerability to suicidal thoughts. According to WHO, they have classified the risk factors into different groups listed below.
- Societal risk factors; the inability to access or receive care and the stigma associated with mental health, substance abuse or suicidal behaviour which prevent people from seeking help.
- Community risk factors; poverty, experience of trauma or abuse, experience of disaster, war or conflict and experience of discrimination.
- Relationship; isolation and lack of support, relationship breakdown, loss or conflict.
- Individual; previous suicide attempts, self-harm behaviour, mental ill health, drug and alcohol misuse, chronic pain and family history of suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) is an alliance of public, private and voluntary organisation in England who care about suicide prevention and the aim of the organisation is to take individual and collective action to reduce suicide and support those affected by suicide. Their action plan for suicide prevention include by reducing the risk of suicide in high-risk groups such as young men, people with history of self-harm and people in contact with criminal justice.
The best way to deal with the stigma associated with mental illness is by discussing the facts and to have a better understanding of mental health problems.
- World Health Organisation (2001). Mental disorders affect one in four people. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/#targetText=Geneva%2C%204%20October%E2%80%94%20One%20in,ill%2Dhealth%20and%20disability%20worldwide.
- World Health Organisation (2019). Suicide. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide
- (2019). Suicides in the UK: 2018 registrations. Retrieved from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2018registrations
- World Health Organisation (2014). Preventing suicide: A global imperative.