Content warning: this article discusses suicide and self-harm

Campaign groups such as the Samaritans and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance use the day to organise and raise awareness of suicide prevention. This year’s theme aims to empower people to engage with the concept of ‘hope’ and ask them to share things that they do which helps them feel hopeful during difficult times.

Continuing with the themes of hope and action, two organisations have used the day to highlight their organisations' successes in suicide prevention and the resources available to help people take actionable steps to support someone with suicidal thoughts.

Community interest company (CIC) launches as UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Self-harm and Suicide Prevention

Figures from the CIC, Harmless, reveal the continuing necessity of self-harm and suicide prevention awareness. The stats show that:

  • One in fourteen people will self-harm during their lifetime.
  • One in five will have suicidal thoughts.
  • One in fifteen people attempt suicide.
  • Globally close to 800,000 people die through suicide every year.
  • For every suicide in the UK, 135 people are exposed, affected, or bereaved.

The Harmless figures also show that different forms of self-harm are differently gendered as nearly a quarter of 14-year-old girls self-harm, and for young women between 13-16 years old, instances of self-harm have increased by 68% since 2014. In comparison, men are three times more like to take their own lives than women in the UK, although suicides rates for young women is now at its highest rate on record – an increase of 93.8% since 2012.

Harmless has been working in the field of self-harm and suicide prevention for over 14 years. The organisation was a first of its kind service dedicated to suicide prevention, ensuring that those who are facing challenges have access to appropriate care, support, and advice. Over the years, the nature of their work has grown; they now provide training, support research, advise policy and media, and continue to provide care.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, the many thousands that the organisation has helped, and their successes in suicide prevention awareness, Harmless has decided to rename its service to the Centre of Excellence for Self-harm and Suicide Prevention (CESHSP).

Caroline Harroe, CEO of Harmless/CESHSP, commented: “This year, like every other, we will continue to save lives through affirmative action. We will deliver hopeful and helpful services and assist others to do the same and commit to a world where suffering is alleviated, and lives saved, and we are so very proud to be now known as a Centre of Excellence in our field.”

Free prevention guide launched by wellbeing specialist

In support of World Suicide Prevention Day, wellbeing specialists Champion Health has updated their free guide to help others learn about suicide prevention and what actionable steps can be taken to support someone with suicidal thoughts. The guide over the last year has reached tens of thousands of people across 26 countries, with many people coming forward to share their own stories.

Contributing authors of the 2021 guide include those who have lost friends and family to suicide, mental health professionals, and people who have lived experience of mental health difficulties. Including Harry Bliss, CEO of Champion Health, who lost a friend to suicide, he said at the launch of the 2021 guide:

"Six months into Champion Health's journey, everything changed. I received a phone call telling me that my friend and mentor had taken his life due to a short bout of stress. This really shook me; he had no history of mental ill-health, he had a wife and two children, and an extremely successful career. After this tragedy, we set out on a mission to change and save lives. We need to do more to support our mental health, and I hope this guide can help."


Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email visit the Samaritans website.