SUICIDE PREVENTION

Death is most feared by all of us. But imagine reaching a point where one fears feeling the pain in life to such an extent where the fear of death seems negligible. Suicide is a voluntary attempt of untimely death which leaves behind a wave shocks, heart-breaks, disbelief, regrets and sadness for all the loved ones and acquaintances. These individuals reach an unbearable level of pain and are unable to get relief.

The numbers of individuals attempting suicide are constantly rising. As per the recent reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), India has the highest suicide rate in South-East Asia. As for worldwide statistics, WHO estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, representing a global mortality rate of 16 people per 1,00,000 individuals. This corresponds to a suicide induced death every 40 seconds. In this year of crisis, 2020, the rate of death by suicide is predicted to increase to every 20 seconds. It is a major public health concern like any other. Suicide prevention is the most important thing that we should encourage people to take it seriously.

Attempting suicide in itself is not a psychological disorder. However, research suggests that 90% of individuals who attempt or commit suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder. It’s important to address suicidal thoughts suicide awareness and ideations and the mental disorders associated with them. It’s high time and of crucially vital to end the stigma around mental health to understand and accept the concerns and problems regarding mental well-being.

Individuals who commit suicide often show warning signs. These red flags are most probably ignored or missed or neglected by their loved ones. If noticed carefully, one can notice in themselves / others, suicide warning signs, which can be seen a few days to a few minutes prior to the attempt. Following are the clinical red flags with regards to suicide that should be kept in consideration:

  • Rage
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
  • Feeling trapped (like there is no way out)
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from family friends/family/society
  • Agitation or intense anxiety
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No sense of purpose in life
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Researching ways to harm/kill oneself
  • Talking or Writing about death.
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Keeping harmful objects easily accessible
  • Making verbal suicide threats, such as “I want to die” or “I’m going to kill myself”
  • Making statements with themes of hopelessness, helplessness, and fear of becoming a burden
  • Any other significant changes
There is no one reason why one may contemplate giving up their life. They maybe experiencing a mental illness or a stressful life event they are not equipped to handle. There are several suicide prevention programs one can take to feel better or to help their loved ones deal effectively with these situations and thoughts. These are the ways to prevent suicide:

  • Stay hopeful and give yourself the time you need to restore
  • Promise yourself not to do anything ‘right now’. Follow the 24 hours delay-in-response rule
  • If you have been prescribed medicines, continue taking them as directed for restoring certain internal physiological balance seek help of suicide prevention counselling
  • Give your medicines to someone who can return them to you one day at a time as per the dosage to avoid overdose
  • Avoid consumption of drugs or alcohol
  • Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms
  • Don’t go through it alone
  • Have a strong support system or one or two trusted individuals who you can turn to at any point and contact them when in need by suicide prevention center
  • If your support system is unavailable or unable to support, contact a Helpline number
  • Talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope
  • Reach out for professional help and talk to a suicide prevention therapist (mental health
  • professional) who can guide you to understand and better deal with these emotions and situations
  • Engage in mindfulness, meditation and relaxation techniques to gain a control over your bodily reactions and emotions
  • Focus on your breathing and perform some grounding techniques in the moment to clarify your mind and refocus
  • No matter how negative your thoughts are, reassure yourself that they are momentary and temporary and that they will be fixed and you will be okay sooner or later
  • Tell yourself that this is just a phase, and that these issues are not going to matter in the next 5 years
Going through something so difficult produces inexplicable pain to an individual. It’s often said that attempt to suicide is not to end the life, but rather to end the pain the person is going through. It’s extremely important to extend our support and empathy if we know anyone personally going through this difficult situation or help them gain the correct guidance to fight these hard situations by providing them support in a healthy manner and build resilience against the same.

Image source-Mpowerminds

Author
Janvi Sutaria
Clinical & Health Psychologist Mpower
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