NSRF raises awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

10 Sep 2020
Professor Ella Arensman, NSRF and School of Public Health

Observed on 10th September every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides the opportunity for people, across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.

The WSPD theme, 'Working together to prevent suicide’ aims to highlight that preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. ‘Step Closer’ is a short film that builds on this with empathy and compassion around the physical metaphor that ‘every step closer can connect someone to life’.

Professor Ella Arensman, NSRF and the School of Public Health gives us an insight into the work the National Suicide Research Foundation is undertaking on suicide, self-harm and suicide prevention.

How many people die by suicide each year?

In Ireland more than 500 people take their lives each year and in addition more than 12,500 people present to hospital following self-harm. 

Globally, every 40 seconds someone takes their life; that’s almost 800,000 people a year around the world with over 75% of suicides occurring in low-and-middle-income countries. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected, resulting in 108 million people annually being profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviours. For every suicide, an estimated 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

What research work is the NSRF undertaking?

The National Suicide Research Foundation is located in UCC and has been conducting research into suicide, self-harm and suicide prevention for over 25 years. In recent months the NSRF has been conducting research and intervention projects related to CoVID-19 such as monitoring the impact of CoVID-19 on self-harm but also the impact of CoVID-19 on depression, anxiety and domestic violence.

One example of a H2020 project the NSRF is working on in conjunction with the School of Public Health is a mental health project that involves 17 partners in 14 different countries. This project will break new ground in mental health promotion at the workplace by combining the expertise of mental health, occupational health, work psychology, public health and implementation science researchers and practitioners. 

From my perspective, and it is the view of many of my colleagues globally, working together with different disciplines is the way forward in improving suicide prevention.


The NSRF held a webinar on the 'Priorities for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention before, during and after CoVID-19 on Sept 10th. At the conference, Prof Arensman delivered two presentations:



UN's Sustainable Development Goal

The reduction of suicide mortality is of global imperative and forms part of the global commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing, by one third, premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and the promotion of mental health and well-being. Research shows multi-level approaches to suicide prevention, incorporating multiple interventions, to be effective. Collaboration at all levels is required; between government and stakeholders, funding bodies and organisations, NGOs and those that they serve, healthcare professionals and their patients, and persons at risk and their family, friends and co- workers.


Pieta House provides a free, therapeutic approach to people who are in suicidal distress and those who engage in self-harm.


College of Medicine and Health

Coláiste an Leighis agus na Sláinte

3rd Floor, Erinville Hospital Western Road University College Cork Cork , T12 EKDO