Dear Friends,

This year, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has decided to make “suicide prevention” the main theme of World Mental Health Day.
While suicidal behavior has existed throughout human history, it has increased gradually in all parts of the world and, in the past few decades, has reached alarming statistical levels.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) has made suicide a priority issue for a number of years, it is important to emphasize that it is a topic that has attracted the interest of most fields of study for centuries; thus, it has been explored by philosophy, religion, medicine, sociology, bioethics, law, and psychology, among other fields.

According to the WHO, more than 800,000 people die by suicide a year, making it the principal cause of death among people fifteen to twenty-nine years old. It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviors, but it should be stressed that many children and young people also engage in this kind of behavior as a result of violence, sexual abuse, bullying and cyberbullying.

Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health, including scientific and professional organizations, organizations for mental health users and their families, and universities. It is particularly important to have the attention of national health authorities since it is their responsibility to craft policies and directives aimed at establishing strategies to prevent suicide and promote the public’s mental health. The role of both print and audiovisual communication media and of social media is no less important, since their participation can have positive as well as negative effects, depending on how they address this subject.

There are numerous complex factors that contribute to a suicide, but it is most important is that our actions be geared toward prevention.
Suicide is confusing, painful and mysterious, but it is preventable. The WFMH is concerned about the increase in numbers of suicides while resources, education, crisis lines and action plans for prevention aren’t keeping up. This is the reason we chose to focus our 2019 campaign on this topic.

We hope this material will give you information to educate yourself and your community. We hope the information will inspire you to do more to help others, to recognize the signs and hopefully save more lives. We must keep the fight going, together, to bring people back from the darkness and into the light!

Join us this year as we focus on suicide prevention. We are partnering and collaborating with many groups around the world to make this an amazing year of positive change. We hope you will support our efforts and keep the spotlight on suicide prevention!

Thank you for your ongoing support of World Mental Health Day!

Alberto Trimboli
WFMH Board President