Today Is World Suicide Prevention Day

Vala Hafstað

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day, reports. It is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The event represents a global commitment to focus attention on suicide prevention.

People in Iceland are encouraged to place lit candles in their windows at 8 pm tonight, to commemorate victims of suicide.

Kristín Ólafsdóttir, managing director of the Pieta Association.

Kristín Ólafsdóttir, managing director of the Pieta Association. Ljósmynd/Píeta-samtökin

Gatherings are planned in many parts of the country, including one in Dómkirkjan cathedral, Reykjavík, at 6 pm, where people can get together and remember the deceased.

Kristín Ólafsdóttir, managing director of the Pieta Association, which focuses on the prevention of suicides, states that on average, the association offers consultation to 320 people on an individual basis at its office every month. “That is a large number of people,” she states. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the association, as well as those who have lost a friend or relative to suicide.

She stresses that access to help needs to be improved. She states that discussion about mental health has increased in recent years, resulting in more people realizing they’re in need of help. More and more people are aware of help offered by the Pieta Association, as well as by the Red Cross emergency line. In addition, Sorgarmiðstöðin is an organization which offers support to mourners.

Dómkirkjan cathedral, where a gathering will be held at 6 …

Dómkirkjan cathedral, where a gathering will be held at 6 pm to remember victims of suicide. Jóhannesson

Kristín describes the assistance offered by the Pieta Association: “We have a doctor, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and chemical dependency professionals. We try to bring people in [for consultation] as soon as possible.”

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following help is available:

You can call the Red Cross emergency line, 1717, day or night. The Red Cross online chat,, is open 24/7 as well. The Pieta Association offers free consultation over the phone. Their number is 552-2218. In addition, the online chat of allows you to receive advice from a nurse. If you’re in imminent danger, call the emergency line, 112.


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