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Suicide Prevention

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Sep 23, 2020

   6 min     



Even though the pain may seem overwhelming and perpetual at the moment, there are many ways to deal with deadly-suicidal feelings and thoughts and overcome such pain. Suicide is an act of intentionally taking one's life. 

It is a death which follows when someone harms themselves because they want their lives to come to an end.

Close to 8 Lakh people die every year by committing suicide. For each suicide, there are more than 25 suicide attempts.

These suicides and suicide attempts possess a ripple effect which impacts on friends, families, colleagues, societies and communities.

Suicides and suicidal thoughts are preventable. Many things can be done to prevent such deaths at an individual, community and national levels.

What is suicide?

Suicide is the act of purposely taking one's life. It is how different societies view suicide, usually according to their religion and culture. For example, various Western cultures, as well as mainstream Islam, Christianity and Judaism, look at killing oneself as a very negative act. A myth about suicide which might be the result of the above-mentioned view is considering suicide always, as the result of mental sickness.

Some societies and communities also look at a suicide attempt as a crime. However, suicides, in certain circumstances, are sometimes seen as understandable or even honourable, as in a protest to persecution (for instance, a hunger strike), as part of resistance or battle (for instance, suicide pilots of World War II and suicide bombers), or as a way of preserving the honour of a dishonoured person (for example, killing oneself to safeguard the safety or honour of family members).

Such are the trends in the ways of committing suicide, as well. For instance, the frequency of poisoning, hanging, or other sorts of self-suffocation rose from 1992 - 2006 while committing suicide with a gun has declined during that particular period of time and has been unchanged from 2012 to 2013. As of 2016, taking one's life with a gun still remains the most prevalent method, followed by asphyxiation/suffocation, and further by poisoning. Suicide is the second foremost cause of death for young people around 15 to 29 years of age. Teen suicides statistics for the youth of age around 15-19 years indicate that between 1950 to 1990, the rate of suicides went up by 300%, and between 1990 to 2003, that rate went down by 35%. However, the rate of suicide progressed by about 1% each year from 2006 through 2014 in individuals from 10 to 24 years old, doubling itself between the years 2007 & 2015. The suicide rate has further increased by about 2% every year from 2006 through 2014 in the age group of 25-64 years.

Warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide

You can not see what a person is feeling inside, so it is not always easy to identify when someone is having deadly or suicidal thoughts. Nevertheless, some obvious warning signs which indicate that a person may be considering suicide are:

  • declaring they have no reason to live for

  • talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or alone

  • giving away personal possessions

  • making a will 

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • searching for a way of doing personal harm, like buying a gun

  • eating too much or eating too little, resulting in significant weight loss or gain

  • avoiding social interactions with others

  • engaging in reckless behaviours, including excessive alcohol or drug consumption

  • expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge

  • having dramatic mood swings

  • showing signs of extreme anxiousness or agitation

  • talking about suicide as a way out

It can feel a bit scary, but taking action and getting help for someone who needs it may help prevent a suicide attempt or death.

What increases the risk of suicide?

There is normally no sole reason someone decides to take their own life. Several factors can increase the chances of suicide, like having a mental disorder.

But more than half of all the people who die by taking their own lives don’t have a recognised mental illness at the point of their death.

Depression is one of the top mental health risk factors, but others include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders and anxiety disorders.

Aside from these mental health conditions, some other factors which increase the risk and chances of committing suicide are:

  • incarceration

  • history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse

  • low levels of job satisfaction or poor job security

  • being diagnosed with a severe medical condition, like HIV or cancer

  • substance use disorder

  • family history of suicide

  • childhood abuse or trauma

  • previous suicide attempts

  • social loss, such as the loss of an important relationship

  • having a chronic disease

  • loss of a job

  • being exposed to suicide

  • access to lethal means, including drugs and firearms

  • difficulty seeking help or support

  • following belief systems which accept suicide as a solution to any personal problem

  • lack of access to substance use treatment or mental health

How to talk to somebody who is feeling suicidal?

If you speculate that a friend or family member may be contemplating suicide, talk to them about the concerns. You can start the conversation by asking questions or talking about things in a non-confrontational and non-judgmental approach.

Talk naturally and don’t be hesitant to ask direct questions, like as “Are you thinking about suicide?”

Throughout the conversation, make sure you:

  • offer and encouragement support

  • stay calm and talk in a reassuring tone

  • acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate

  • tell them that help is accessible and that they can feel better with treatment

You should make sure not to reduce their problems or attempts to dishonouring them into changing their mind. Listening to them and showing your support is the most reliable way to help them. You can additionally encourage them to seek professional help.

Offer help to them consult a healthcare provider, make a phone call, or go with them to their initial appointment.

It can be a bit frightening when somebody you care about displays suicidal signs. Anyways, it’s crucial to take some action if you’re in a position to help. Commencing a conversation to try and help save a life is a risk worth taking any day.

If you’re worried and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. They have qualified counsellors accessible 24/7. Stop Suicide Today is another helpful resource.

In cases of imminent danger

If you notice anyone doing any of the following, you should immediately get them to care:

  • saying goodbyes to friends and family

  • putting their affairs in order or giving away their possessions

  • planning, looking to buy, or steal the tools to complete a suicide, such as a firearm or medication

  • having mood shifts from despair to calm

If you think somebody is at immediate risk of self-harm:

  • Call the police or your local emergency number- suicide prevention lifeline.

  • Stay with that person until the help arrives.

  • Remove any knives, guns, medications, or any other things that may cause harm.

  • Listen, but don’t judge, threaten, yell or argue.

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Tags:  Mental health ,Suicide, What is suicide?, risk of suicide, Depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, feeling suicidal

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