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World Suicide Prevention Day

Posted Sep 11 2009 11:02pm

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Lorenz from anthropologi.info has written a very insightful post about yesterdays World Suicide Prevention Day. From it I learned that worldwide,

more people die by suicide than by criminal acts or war – around one million per year. And up to 20 million people try to take their life every year. But this topic is hardly discussed. Neither in media (it was banned in Norweagian media until one year ago or so) nor in social sciences. The  World Suicide Prevention Day … wants to “improve education about suicide, disseminate information, decrease stigmatization and, most importantly, raise awareness that suicide is preventable”.

So far, the research about suicide is dominated by psychology and biomedical sciences.

Committing suicide is presented as an individual issue. People who commit suicide seem to be people who for some reason no longer were able to cope with their life. There was something “wrong” with them. But maybe there is also something wrong with society as a whole or with specific current developments?

Suicide prevention does not only or necessarily mean preventing people from committing suicide but also working towards a society where there are no reasons to take one’s life.

But unfortunately, the current World Suicide Prevention Day campaign, as well as the  International Association for Suicide Prevention focus on individual factors, ignoring the larger societal conditions which lead people to take the desperate step to end their lives.

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