Suicide affects all of us, whether directly or indirectly, and its prevention remains a universal challenge. Suicide is regularly among the top 20 causes of death globally for people of all ages. Over 800,000 people die by suicide a year — which is roughly one suicide every 40 seconds — and for every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt. And that’s not even including countless people who deal with chronic or passive thoughts of suicide throughout their lives.
This World Suicide Prevention Day, we at BuzzFeed want to commit to supporting the effort of suicide prevention today, and every day. In order to do that, we can’t just talk about and acknowledge the risk of suicide when it’s timely, like when a beloved celebrity kills themselves or when there is a new report out about alarming statistics. We have to talk about suicide, and how to prevent it, in our everyday coverage.
Of course, preventing suicide isn’t easy or straightforward, and it’s definitely not something we can accomplish ourselves. It takes providing education and tools for improving mental health, increasing conversation, forging connections, supporting those who are struggling, and fighting stigma tied to mental illness and the many misconceptions people have about suicide. It takes family, friends, educators, healthcare professionals, political officials, governments, and all corners of the community. But the one thing that’s certain is that preventing suicide has to be an ongoing and collaborative effort.
Fittingly, this year’s WSPD theme is “Working Together To Prevent Suicide” and we would be remiss not to think critically about how we can use BuzzFeed’s platform to support that mission. Everyone has a role they can play in suicide prevention, and here’s what we hope BuzzFeed’s can be:
• We will continue to publish expert-backed mental health content that helps our readers develop coping mechanisms, gives them hope, and encourages them to seek the help and treatment they need.
• We will lift up stories both personal and newsworthy to encourage conversation, increase understanding, or to make people feel less alone.
• We will continue to adhere to the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide to reduce potential harm.
• We will provide avenues for social connection — an important aspect of suicide prevention — between our readers, such as through our FaceBook groups Page Turners and Room of Requirement, our BuzzFeed Community, and forthcoming programs.
• And we will of course continue to supply you with feel-good content for the days when nothing else will make you smile, because sometimes, it’s the littlest things that help us get by.
Moving forward, you’ll be able to find this content all in one place when you need it under our Be More OK badge. We chose the name because we know that mental health and recovery are not linear or easy, and that for many, there are more bad days than good. The most we can hope for, sometimes, is to help our readers and each other be just a little bit more OK.
We hope you’ll join us in thinking about how you can contribute to suicide prevention, too — whether it’s finding ways to take care of yourself or others, sharing your story, or even simply familiarizing yourself with how to respond to the warning signs of suicide.
We will be here to support you however we can.