Light a Candle near a Window at 8 Tonight

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is encouraging people to light a candle near a window at 8 PM to show support for suicide prevention, to remember a loved one lost through suicide, and for the survivors of suicide.


The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year is “Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.” Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. Suicide is the fifth leading causes of death among those aged 30-49 years in 2012 globally. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 years age group in 2012 globally. Overall, it is estimated that during 2012 for each adult who died of suicide there were over 20 others who made suicide attempts.


The psychological pain that leads each of these individuals to take their lives is unimaginable. In 2012, suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 15th leading cause of death. Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries, impulsiveness plays an important role.


Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved. Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, that having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.


IASP has prepared special at 8 PM postcards or e-cards in various languages so supporters can send these reminders to friends, colleagues and loved ones. Also, these postcards can be used by bloggers, writers and others so that they can share information about suicide, suicide prevention and World Suicide Prevention Day. Postcards can be downloaded from the IASP Web site at


Established in Vienna, in 1960, by the late Professor Erwin Ringel, IASP is the key Non-Government Organization in official relations with the World Health Organization in addressing suicide. IASP is a unique multidisciplinary organization with its membership coming from 50 countries, primarily from the mental health professions, but with additional members from such disciplines as sociology, social work, anthropology, medicine, public health, education, corrections, probation, coroners/medical examiners, pathology and philosophy.