On September 10th, join TELL and others around the world in taking action to combat suicides in our communities and focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of lives lost every day.

Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these numbers are real people each with their own stories, who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.

This past year in Japan, we saw a 30-year high in youth suicides. Young people are struggling every day and still don’t get the help that they need.

Each one of these individuals is part of a community. Some may be well linked into the community, and have a network of family, friends and work colleagues or schoolmates. Others may be less well connected, and some may be quite isolated. Regardless of the circumstances, communities have an important role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable.

It is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

Making connections with someone struggling is something we can all do, and one of the most effective actions we can take to keep someone safe. A connection with those that have lost someone to suicide is also key to understanding how these losses impact families, workplaces, and the broader community. Communicating effectively about suicide and mental illness is essential-bringing awareness to the issue responsibly and helping those that are struggling to speak up and seek help without feeling ashamed or a failure. Communications about mental illness are crucial; its symptoms, treatment, and recovery need discussing in the workplace, schools, universities and our home, between employers and employees, teachers and students, parents and children, colleagues and friends.

For anyone thinking about killing themselves, we need to let them know they are important and care enough that suicide prevention becomes a priority in our community. Every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their life by suicide, and every two minutes a young person. It is vital for everyone to recognize that suicidal behavior is not a sign that someone wants to die, but is a scream for help, and an illness that is not being treated. It is time to stop and look at those around us, to hear the cries of help, to let those struggling know they are important, it is not hopeless, they are not a failure, that we care,  that help is available and recovery possible.

This year is the first World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” This theme will be retained in 2019 and 2020. It has been chosen as it highlights the most essential ingredient for effective suicide prevention- collaboration. We all have a role to play and together we can collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behavior in society today.

TELL is proud to announce our 4th  Talkie Walkie event made possible again by the generous support of Morgan Stanley. You can show your support by joining one of our walks in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe or Nagoya. Or you can hold your own walk for TELL anywhere in Japan and help raise important funds to get our Lifeline 24/7. Participants will each receive a TELL Talkie Walkie tote bag, that we ask you to gather signatures on the day as you make connections and start conversations along your walk.

Finally, if there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life.

Either join an existing walk, or host one yourself.