The official numbers internationally for 2019 provide a lot of information. The 1 in 100 statistic probably did not continue into 2020, mostly because with COVID more people died of other causes than a normal year, but when you stop to think about the raw number of people worldwide who have died by suicide, it’s an overwhelming picture of despair and grief.
In 2019, more than 700 000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, prompting WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care.
That’s 700,000 stories, just in one year. 700,000 people with families, friends, coworkers, etc. who are gone. Not necessarily because of a virus, or cancer, or even violence. Because they couldn’t take it any longer. We need to find better ways to get to those folks before it comes to this. That’s why suicide prevention is something that is so near to my heart. Because for all we talk about advocating, and erasing stigma, etc. it doesn’t help anyone who isn’t here to be helped.
I want abuse survivors to know that healing is possible. I want people dealing with mental health issues to have hope that they can get better. I work hard to get that message out, but those 700,000 people who died by suicide in 2019 won’t ever get to read what you just read. They aren’t here.
I’m tired of that. These numbers are so much more than numbers.