The topic, ‘Suicide Prevention’ is undoubtedly an elephant in the room. Though the stigma associated with openly talking about mental health issues have faded in recent years, the hesitation in discussing them is deep-rooted and continues to persist. Many people, rather than acknowledging the problems or issues they face, tend to cocoon themselves and stay silent. As a result, they fall prey to depression, anxiety disorders and in extreme cases, unfortunately, end up taking their own lives.
In this article, we will discuss suicide prevention. Hence, we will be using language related to suicide. If any of that has the potential to trigger you, please refrain from reading this article.
Before we can delve deeper into the prevention methods, it is important to gain an insight into details of the psychology of suicide. This helps in gaining perspective of comprehending an approach to help a person in need. Unemployment, financial instability, death of a loved one, poverty, love affairs, failure in exams, family problems, drug abuse and illness are the major reasons for committing suicide in India. According to WHO, 17.5% of total suicidal deaths happen in India and majority of deceased belong to the age group 15 to 39 yrs. Statistics sadly are increasing!
Suicide can be committed either in a spur of the moment when a person feels immensely low, or it might be when people give up their fight against issues they face and feel taking away their own life as a solution. Untreated depression leading to suicide is quite common, thus one should be aware of factors which might disturb their and their loved ones mental health.
In most cases, when a person is suffering from depression; one must look for either major or subtle warning signals as mentioned below:
- Adopting self destructible habits such as increased intake of alcohol, drugs etc.
- Feeling of loneliness.
- Talking about hopelessness or having no purpose.
- Talking about being trapped or feeling unbearable pain.
- Feeling like a burden on others.
- Signs of self-harm.
- Disturbed sleep patterns.
- Having extreme mood swings.
- Withdrawing oneself away from others and living in isolation suddenly.
- Expressing about killing oneself.
- Self-loathing or self-hatred.
- A sudden sense of calm in a person undergoing depression might indicate they may have decided to take an extreme step!
Do’s and Dont’s – Preventing suicide
- First and foremost, we must learn to empathize with other people’s mental health problems even if it doesn’t make much sense to us. We mustn’t shrug off or make fun of issues that might be sensitive to others.
- Never assume people who talk or seem alright on the surface can never commit suicide. Be aware of subtle warning signals a person might show which might indicate that they lost their will to live.
- Strike up a conversation when you feel something is fishy and lend a hearing aid. Make the other person absolutely comfortable so they speak up.
- Don’t lecture or argue with them rather listen more than you speak.
- Respond quickly in such crisis. Never ever wait for things to get worse to fix them. Get professional help if needed there and then.
- Don’t leave a suicidal person ever alone; in any kind of circumstances.
- Be aware of suicide helpline numbers in case of emergencies and act proactively in such scenarios.
- Make sure to provide unconditional support to person in need.
- Bust myths prevalent in society against suicide.
- Make sure to take care of your own mental health while dealing with another person going through such phase.
If you suffer from suicidal thoughts:
- Seek professional help immediately.
- If you want to vent out contact a loved one or emergency number in case there is no one you know you want to talk to.
- Refrain yourself from taking any extreme decisions suddenly. Remember that there is always one person or reason to live for no matter what!
- Open up to a person you trust deeply.
- Take a break from everything and calm your mind.
- Acknowledge your thoughts and emotions and try to recognize what is disturbing you rather than being in denial of them.
- Then make gradual attempts to change your perspective in resolving your problems in a healthy manner.
- Keep faith and hope as your guiding light.
- Once you feel better, try to instil a positive and happy attitude with tiny attempts daily. Reward yourself whenever you make progress!
- Never get disheartened over not being able to escape a depressed attitude.
- Live your life one day at time. Don’t let future or past overwhelm you.
IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO RECEIVE PROFESSIONAL HELP IN SUCH SCENARIO.
Remember help is just one call away!
Suicide Prevention – A Social Responsibility
“I turned out to be a complete failure.”, “I am no longer needed.”, “There is no reason good enough to live.” The listing of such sentences in suicide notes is endless. Many people die without blaming anyone except themselves! I believe there is fundamentally something wrong in us as a society that we made people feel so terrible that they attributed their life meaningless. Here some tips to change for better:
- Prevent any ill-treatment against anyone based on stereotypes and prejudice.
- Make children aware of handling peer pressure.
- Don’t discourage others for their unconventional life choices just based on your definition of right or wrong.
- Raise awareness to prevent any form of abuse against anyone.
- Don’t bad mouth or gossip about a person with disturbed mental health or after a person has committed suicide as it affects others going through the same.
Responsibility of Parents
A healthy upbringing is crucial for competent attitude development. Parents and teachers are torchbearers of raising children in the right manner.
Parents must abstain from severe punishments or scoldings when children engage in notorious actions; as such rough behaviour affects the mental health of children. Handling pre-teens and adolescents with patience and understanding are the keys to gain insight into their mental health.
Make sure you give them advice with proper reasoning rather than simply dictating your decisions on them. Give them their space to talk about the issues they face. Be open to them about changes they go through and try to answer their queries without discomfort. Parents must accept the uniqueness of their child and should never pressurize them to do something they don’t want to or they are not good at. They must never use words like hopeless or failure to describe their child when they score low.
Responsibility of the Government
Government can play an impactful role in suicide prevention since it gets reach to a wider mass. Thus, creating a national-level strategy in which help is provided to the people in need any time of day is important. The government should conduct awareness campaigns against suicide prevention and encourage people to give importance to their mental health as much as their physical health. The government should provide mental health treatment services in every part of nation proactively.
Around 1 student commits suicide every hour in India. This is indeed an alarming situation which needs urgent attention. The most common reason for suicide is scoring low marks or not qualifying a competitive exam. It is high time for incorporating diverse opportunities for students in the education system and job sector. Promotion of unorthodox careers and co-scholastic activities should be done in order to encourage students to utilize their idiosyncrasy.
The government must also turn its attention and deal towards bullying, ragging, rapes, cyberbullying and child abuse to prevent the infliction of mental scars which might lead to victims giving up and committing suicide. In crux, devising effective mental health laws in India is the need of the hour.
Therefore to conclude, suicide prevention is a collective responsibility as every human on this planet is unique and for no reason, he or she should feel worthless to not live. The pain of separation from someone for forever is unbearable and we must learn to empathize with others. Thus, the need of the hour is to actively work towards saving as many lives as we can.
“Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it just passes it on to people left behind.”
Edited by: Priyanka Srinivas