World Suicide Prevention Day: Now we should take care of each other

These are challenging times for people with mental issues. The COVID-19 pandemic is weighing heavy on those that suffer from depressions and other mental problems but the physical distancing should not cut them off socially. It is important right now that governments realize that the social support should be strengthened as NOW is the time to take care of each other.

On this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, experts urge that physical distancing doesn’t mean we’re socially cut off. Every year, around 800,000 people around the world die by suicide. Some are from large extended families, others are so lonely that they feel they have no one to turn to. Every death affects an average of 135 additional people — amounting to 108 million people who are impacted every year.

Aruba has no statistics available with regards to the suicide deaths, but overall we can see an increase in people that need mental support during this COVID-19 crisis. What we can establish too on our island is the fact that people use more alcohol and possibly drugs right no due to the insecure times and the lock down/curfew. The isolation and economic loss cause anxiety and people look for means to ease that uncomfortable feeling.

The World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual global event organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization also remembrances to mourn those who have passed and also serves as a global call to check in with one another. We can’t physically touch each other at the moment, but it is all the more important to interpret the motto symbolically — that we are actually still there for each other and take care of other. To all those people that feel they cannot take any more: reach out to family, friends or organizations, do not isolate yourself! To all that know someone who is having a hard time, check upon them and do not forget about them as they need you more in this time.