A purposeful self-destructive act is referred to as suicide. It is a complicated, multifaceted problem that is frequently accompanied by emotional discomfort, mental health issues, and a sense of helplessness. People of various ages, socioeconomic groups, and professions may be impacted. The prevention of suicide comprises a number of tactics, such as mental health assistance, awareness, and intervention. Suicide is a severe public health problem. Since 2003, there have been several events taking place all around the world in support of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), a day of awareness that is always marked on September 10. World Suicide Prevention Day is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). Every year World Suicide Prevention Day is observed with a theme. This year in 2023 the theme is Creating Hope Through Action. Let us try to understand the information on suicide first.
Suicide is a multifaceted matter that can be impacted by a multitude of factors, including mental health conditions, substance misuse, a background of abuse or trauma, and social disconnection. It is of utmost importance to recognize and acknowledge these potential risk factors and take prompt and effective measures to address them.
Biological risk factors
Young age is a risk factor for suicide in and of itself. Youthful developmental changes result in altered psychological states and increased impulsivity.
Young females are more likely to commit suicide than males are. In addition to genetics, societal influences may also play a role in this.
Young individuals are more likely to commit suicide when they are experiencing negative affect, such as poor self-esteem and hopelessness. Active problem-solving techniques and diversions can help prevent suicide, while ineffective coping mechanisms raise the risk. A psychological trait known as impulsivity has been linked to a higher risk of suicidality in young people. It has been shown that male adolescents’ suicidal thoughts are more likely to arise when impulsivity and violence are present.
Social and environmental aspects
Discrimination and trauma are significant risk factors for teenage suicide. Abuse on all fronts such as sexual, physical, emotional as well as bullying and loneliness are linked to a higher risk of suicide. Comparatively to the overall population, experiencing prejudice increases the likelihood of suicide. In India, discrimination against young people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and membership in particular castes and religious minority is another risk factor for suicide. The observed difference in prevalence between the sexes is influenced by social and environmental variables. Suicide is linked to abuse and intimate relationship violence also. Additionally, young women could encounter increased economic instability and stigma related to mental illness.
It is crucial to be aware of the warning signs that may indicate that someone is at risk for suicide. These signs include expressing a desire to die, feeling trapped or hopeless, and giving away personal belongings. It is essential to take these warning signs seriously and seek professional help right away.
Suicide Talk: Take it seriously if someone expresses suicidal thoughts or talks about feeling hopeless or as though they have no reason to live.
Significant Mood Swings: Dramatic mood swings, such as increased agitation, irritation, or worry, might be signs of emotional distress.
Isolation: Social retreat or isolation, especially if it is a major deviation from their regular behaviour, might be a symptom of problems.
Behaviour Shifts: Keep an eye out for substantial behavioural shifts, such forgoing personal hygiene, donating items, or partaking in unsafe activities.
Expressions of despair: Expressions of despair, a sense of being imprisoned, or the perception that one is burdening others can be alarming.
Loss of Interest: Loss of interest in past interests might signify emotional discomfort.
Suddenly Calm: Strangely, some people may paradoxically become more at ease and tranquil after reaching the choice to terminate their lives.
Increased Substance usage: A discernible rise in drug or alcohol usage may be a red flag.
Significant Alterations in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia or oversleeping may be signs of emotional discomfort.
Breaking the Stigma
Conversations about mental illness and suicide can be arduous to undertake given the unfavourable associations linked with these subjects. As a result, individuals may refrain from seeking the necessary assistance. Nevertheless, by participating in transparent and candid dialogues concerning mental health and suicide, we can strive towards deconstructing these stigmas and cultivating a climate of inclusivity and understanding.
The term “suicide prevention” refers to activities and plans intended to lower the suicide risk and offer assistance to people who may be at danger. Suicide prevention aims to save lives and advance mental health. It involves a variety of approaches, such as:
Mental Health Education: Promoting open dialogue about mental health, lowering stigma, and raising knowledge of mental health concerns can all assist people in seeking care when they do.
Accessibility to Psychological Assistance: It’s important to make sure people have access to mental health specialists, counselling, and therapy in order to recognize and treat underlying mental health disorders.
Emergency Helplines: Setting up hotlines and helplines for people in distress to call for support and assistance right away.
Instruction and schooling: Teaching others, such as medical personnel, educators, and members of the community, how to spot symptoms of distress and how to act properly.
Assistance from the community: Creating a loving and supportive community can act as a safety net for people who might be having suicidal thoughts.
Research and Information: Gathering information to guide preventive efforts and doing research to better understand the elements that contribute to suicide.
Limitation: Limiting access to fatal tools, such as drugs or weapons, can be a successful suicide prevention method.
Postvention: Supporting those who have experienced suicide in order to help them deal with the fallout and stop more suicides is known as postvention.
In order to effectively prevent suicide, people, communities, healthcare systems, and governments must work together. By fostering a society where individuals feel valued, supported, and connected, it hopes to lower the suicide rate and improve mental health. Please reach out to a mental health professional or an emergency helpline in your neighbourhood right away if you or someone you know is suffering a crisis or having suicidal thoughts.
Mental Health helplines:
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched KIRAN-961-944-5504., a national 24/7 toll free helpline launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to help people with suicidal thoughts, depression, and other mental health issues.
Other important helplines include:
Ms. Monica T Nakra
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