World Suicide Prevention Day – 10th September 2023

Every year, on September 10th, the world comes together to observe World Suicide Prevention Day. This day serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health, support, and understanding for those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. At Green Health Thames Valley, a horticultural therapy charity dedicated to helping individuals facing mental health challenges, we understand the profound impact nature can have on mental well-being. On this World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, we want to shed light on the power of horticultural therapy in preventing suicide and promoting mental health.

Understanding the Challenge

According to the World Health Organisation, close to 800,000 people die by suicide each year, making it a global public health crisis. The emotional pain and despair that lead individuals to contemplate suicide are complex and often intertwined with mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Recognising the signs and offering support is crucial in preventing suicide, and this is where horticultural therapy can play a significant role.

Horticultural Therapy: A Healing Connection

At Green Health Thames Valley, we firmly believe that nature holds a unique power to heal and rejuvenate. Horticultural therapy involves using plants, gardening, and nature-based activities to improve mental health. It offers a holistic approach to well-being by addressing emotional, physical, and social needs simultaneously. Here’s how it can contribute to suicide prevention:

  1. Stress Reduction: Gardening and spending time in nature have been shown to reduce stress levels significantly. By providing a calming and peaceful environment, horticultural therapy helps individuals manage their emotional distress.
  2. Social Connection: Isolation can exacerbate feelings of despair and hopelessness. Horticultural therapy promotes social interaction, creating a sense of belonging and support that is crucial in suicide prevention.
  3. Empowerment: Taking care of plants and watching them thrive can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment. These small successes can be significant steps toward recovery.
  4. Coping Mechanisms: Learning new skills in horticultural therapy can provide individuals with healthier ways to cope with life’s challenges, reducing the likelihood of turning to self-destructive behaviours.

Supporting Suicide Prevention

On World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, Green Health Thames Valley encourages everyone to get involved in supporting suicide prevention efforts. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  1. Spread Awareness: Share information about World Suicide Prevention Day and its significance on your social media platforms to raise awareness.
  2. Reach Out: If you suspect someone you know is struggling, reach out to them with empathy and understanding. Your support can make a world of difference.
  3. Volunteer: Consider volunteering with organisations like Green Health Thames Valley that provide horticultural therapy to those in need. If you’d like to offer your support to GHTV, please do get in touch.
  4. Educate Yourself: Learn about the signs of suicide and how to help someone in crisis. Education is a powerful tool in saving lives.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 reminds us that mental health is a shared responsibility. Their informational video can be found here.

By working together, raising awareness, and supporting individuals in need, we can cultivate hope and make strides in reducing the incidence of suicide. Let’s join hands to nurture not only plants but also the mental health of our community.