World Suicide Prevention Day 2023

Posted By: Amy Tubb

7th September 2023

  • week
  • Awareness

2 minute read

When is World Suicide Prevention Day 2023?

Sunday 10 September 2023

What is World Suicide Prevention Day?

The 10 September each year aims to focus attention on death by suicide, reduce stigma and raise awareness of the message that suicide can be prevented.

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) was established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is this year’s theme?

“Creating Hope Through Action” has been the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day for the last three years (2021-2023).

Suicide, pregnancy and the postnatal period

Worryingly, the latest data from MBRRACE-UK’s Saving Lives Improving Mothers’ Care 2022 report shows that suicide during pregnancy or up to six weeks after is increasing in the UK and Ireland.

Key findings:

  • Suicide remains the leading cause of direct (pregnancy-related) maternal death in the first postnatal year.
  • In 2020, women were three times more likely to die by suicide during this period compared to 2017-19.
  • 40% of deaths within the year after pregnancy were from mental health-related causes.
  • Very few women who died by suicide in 2020 had formal mental health diagnoses, but significant numbers had a history of trauma.
  • Significantly, mental ill-health and heart disease are now on an equal footing as the cause of maternal deaths in the UK.

Laura Seebohm, CEO of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, said: “For many years now, suicide has been the leading cause of direct maternal deaths in the year after pregnancy. Sadly, that is still the case, but there is also alarming information, so powerfully exposed by the report, on inequalities, disparities and clear injustices. This adds to the sense of urgency we must all feel. There are clear recommendations of what needs to change and these need to be acted upon, to understand how services can be improved so that every mother and her family has access to essential maternal mental health care and support, when and where they need it.” 

It is imperative that more support is made available to prevent these avoidable deaths. To combat this growing crisis, healthcare systems must be properly equipped and trained to identify perinatal mental health problems quickly, provide accessible and stigma-free support as early as possible, and establish care plans to ensure the wellbeing of mums, babies, and their families.

By addressing maternal mental health and offering compassionate high-quality support, we can reverse the unacceptable upward trend of maternal suicide and safeguard the health and future of countless families.

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