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World Mental Health Day 2019: Suicide Prevention

World Mental Health Day presents an opportunity for mental health experts to talk about their work, for stakeholders to mobilize resources, and for advocates to raise awareness about mental health issues. This year the World Federation for Mental Health has decided to focus the attention of the annual event on suicide prevention.

Each year around 800,000 people die by suicide, making in the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds (WHO). Suicide affects both children and adults and can be the result of many factors including but not limited to, persistent anxiety and depression, experienced violence, abuse, or socioeconomic factors. Targeted interventions such as early identification during the care of people with substance abuse or mental disorders and accessible community support systems can help those struggling.

We are proud to be currently supporting the Artopie project, a collaboration between Children Action and the Hôpitaux Universitaire Genève (HUG) in Geneva which addresses youth suicide directly through social and cultural activities. This innovative project combines art and healthcare through activities hosted inside and outside the hospital with the aim of creating a close relationship between youth at risk of suicide, society, and health professionals. The project offers youth ages 13 to 25 a combination of holistic care and artistic experiences including workshops on music, dance, theater, and photography. This past year participants attended a screening of a selection of seven short films, and a youth vote for the best short film within the Festival Animatou. Project staff also organized a visit to part of the exhibition “Africa, the religions of ecstasy” which presented different divination practices and illustrated how these practices responded to an individual problem. Many more activities are planned for 2020 and we look forward to sharing them with you.