Preventing Suicide: A Global Perspective by the World Health Organization was released on September 4, 2014, just prior to World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.
The report states that 800,000 people a year (one person every 40 seconds) die of suicide. It is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds.
The report also states that suicide is preventable but suicide prevention needs to be a higher priority on the global health agenda. “Every single life lost to suicide is one too many.” says Dr. Margaret Chan in the Foreword (p. 2).
The world was recently rocked by the death of Robin Williams to suicide. People couldn’t comprehend that one of this generation’s greatest “funny” men could do such a thing.
There is still a terrible stigma associated with mental health issues and the Christian community is not exempt. Rick Warren, mega-church pastor, and his wife, Kay, lost their adult son, Matthew, to suicide in 2013. They have taken up the cause to fight mental illness through their influence in the church community.
One significant event they organized was The Gathering on Mental Health in the Church in March 2014.
The tragedy of the Warren’s loss has reduced the despair of thousands of Christians. Many have “come out of the closet” and shared the fact that they are battling mental health problems. Others – family and friends who previously hid the challenges they faced with loved ones because of the terrible stigma of mental illness – have also begun to open up.
On October 10, 2014, the Warrens will be hosting a free global online event, 24 Hours of Hope, for World Mental Health Day.
I encourage you to share information on this event with your community, as none of us knows who might be in mental pain, needing hope for the battles they are fighting.