We all experience mental health. Therefore, on this World Suicide Prevention Day, we’re joining our voice with countless others across Europe in advocating for more open and honest discussions regarding our mental health. Why? So, we can finally combat the stigma that still exists around this issue and normalise seeking help when in need of it.

This World Suicide Prevention Day comes 18-months after the beginning of a pandemic that has amplified, exacerbated, and stretched-to-the-limit millions of people’s well-being. Indeed, the loneliness and financial loss ramifications of COVID-19 have impacted the mental health of millions of people across the world – unfortunately, and disproportionately affecting those who already found themselves in vulnerable situations before the outbreak.

Recognising World Suicide Prevention Day is, of course, important. However, actual change can only be realised when we put these words into action.

At Eurodiaconia, we are encouraged to see many of our members combining their words with action.

For example, our member – Free Churches, has been working hard during their year of ‘Creating Hope through Action’ to actively provide opportunities and safe spaces where their local communities can seek help. These spaces are proving successful in allowing people to open up about their experiences and seek the invaluable assistance they need.

As Free Churches has stated: “In the era of COVID-19, with all the uncertainty and anxiety it has brought, it’s more important than ever that we’re there for each other as well as looking after our mental health”.

We’ve also been following the work of our Member, Diakonie Kosova, who – since 2007 – have been working to provide accessible trauma therapy and other mental health services through their Psycho-Social Centre. The centre actively promotes accessibility and provides services through multiple languages.

World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us that for the countless people who have tragically taken their own lives, channels for accessing help or the ability to open-up about their experiences were not necessarily available.

We all have a responsibility, regardless of our background or professional sector, to ensure that we are talking openly and honestly about our mental health – to encourage others who are dealing with their mental health issues in silence to feel safe to share their experiences and potentially access life-saving services and help.