World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) observed every year on 10th September is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).The aim of this day is to create awareness among people about the fact that suicide can be prevented.
According to WHO, worldwide about 800,000 people die due to suicide (one death every 40 seconds) and for every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. Suicide is the second major cause of death among young people 15-29 years of age.
Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 79% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2016. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 18th leading cause of death in 2016. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.
Different reports suggests rise in the incidence of suicide deaths in India. Experts say that stigma attached to it restricts people from being vocal about it. But only when we can identify the signs of suicidal behaviour of our near once, the suicides can be prevented.
“Feeling suicidal is a thought when one cannot cope up with the pain. One should remember that a suicidal crisis is always temporary. One should remember that even problems that seem hopeless have solutions. One should always get through self-loathing, hopelessness, or isolation,” said Dr Kaustubh Joag, psychiatrist from Pune.
“The person who is under depression and is getting suicidal thoughts will leave subtle indications. The person will sound hopeless and things will be gloomy for him or her. The person might think of staying alone. The near one should recognise all these signs and should understand that depression is a medical condition. The depressed person should then be taken to a psychiatrist. Timely counselling and medications both will help a person come out of such thoughts,” said Dr Pankaj Borade, psychiatrist from Ruby Hall, Pune.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, said, “There are several signs that a suicidal person can exhibit these include donating all belongings, running away from home, saying their time has come to meet God, saying that nobody loves me, bingeing on food or not eating at all, being agitated, crying excessively.”
When asked about how can one deal with a suicidal person, Dr Shetty replied, “Listen carefully to the person. Provide safety, listen and be with them. Don’t attempt to give them long lectures or sermons. Don’t push them to do yoga or go in for meditation. Take them to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Mental health professionals can deal with these situations very effectively.”
What you can do to offer your support:
Ask and be there: Talk about suicide with the person you are worried about. Listen carefully with open mind what the individual is thinking and feeling.
Help them connect: Encourage the person to connect with trusted individual like a family member, friend and offer to accompany to seek help from a professional (doctor, counsellor)
Keep them safe: Ensure that person does not have access to means of self-harm (for example pesticides, firearms or medication). Reducing, restricting, or eliminating access to lethal methods can be a highly effective component of preventing suicide.
Stay connected: Keep in touch to know how the person is doing.
If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone. Seek professional help or inform family members.