We have seen breaking news, celebrity news of successful socialites, and numerous famous people who committed suicide. We also see whenever the exam results are announced, there is news about students who took their own lives due to underperforming in the examination and the rejection by their parents. The reason may be whatever but the ugly truth is that suicide runs across all social and economic strata of the society. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, popular, or even a regular man, or a person is in a depressed mental state; suicidal thoughts are not uncommon.
In the wake of the suicide stories of famous celebrities like Jia Khan, Sushant Rajput, Guru Dutt, Silk Smitha, Nafisa Joseph, and many others, business tycoons including VG Siddhartha, founder of Cafe Coffee Day; Vineet Whig, CEO of Encyclopedia Britannica; Lalith Seth of Raj Travel World; and more, makes us consider why accomplished people must make such a drastic step in their life?
One thought that pops into the mind are why someone is forced to commit suicide. Is the person cowardly, and incapable of handling the pressures of life? the response is …no! It’s not about being cowardly or incompetent. It’s about when internal pain is greater than external pain and a person chooses to end their life.
Extremely high levels of fear of being rejected and the pain that comes with rejection are two of the main motives behind a person’s decision to commit suicide. Many other factors contribute to suicide however, mental health issues, as well as the anxiety of failing, are the primary factors that drive people to take such drastic step.
‘’People commit suicide for only one reason – to escape the torment.”Li Ang
According to the American Psychiatrist Association1, suicide is a grave mental health issue that affects the general public that is a result of an untreated mental health problem. There is a good chance of co-morbidity that leads to more suicides per year.
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), celebrated annually on 10 September, is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)2 and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO)3, which considers, suicide, a serious social and mental health condition.
As the second-highest cause of death (after creations) for those aged between 10 and 34, suicide is a major public health issue.
According to statistics from WHO as per the statistics of WHO, in the year 2020 in the United States, over 45,000 individuals committed suicide. A total of 1.4 million people try suicide every year as per WHO Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)4 over one-in-five individuals who committed suicide had declared their intention to commit suicide. Men are 3 times as likely to commit suicide.
However, suicide is not unavoidable. Understanding the risk factors and being aware of the warning signs of suicide can aid in preventing suicide.
Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Suicide is associated with mental disorders, specifically alcohol and depression The most significant risk to commit suicide is attempted suicide.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center defines the risk factors, protective factors, and warning indicators. The risk factors comprise the characteristics which increase the chances of someone thinking about suicide, attempting to commit suicide or even committing suicide. The factors that protect us are the characteristics that reduce the likelihood for individuals to contemplate or attempt to commit suicide or commit suicide.
Who Is At Higher Risk of Suicide
Certain circumstances and events can increase the danger (not in a specific sequence, except for the first);
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- A suicide history within the family
- Substance misuse
- Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)
- Lethal access methods (e.g. the storage of firearms within the home)
- Other events and losses (for instance, the end of a relationship, a loss of a child, failures in the classroom, financial troubles, legal problems or bullying)
- Trauma or abuse
- Chronic Physical illness which includes chronic pain
- Suicide-inducing behavior of other people
In certain instances, an event of stress or an abruptly devastating event, or failure, may leave people feeling depressed, and not able to figure an escape route and can end up being a “tipping point” toward suicide.
The recent CDC report reveals the complex nature of suicide. While mental illness could be a factor for many, however, the report states it is true that “many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions.” A relationship issue was the most significant factor that contributed to suicide and was followed by a crisis in the last or in the next two weeks, and the use of a substance that is problematic. CDC states that fifty percent, or 54 percent of those who committed suicide, didn’t suffer from a mental health issue. However, a large portion might have had mental health issues that were not recognized or acknowledged by those who were around them.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Here are a few warning signs, that can help you identify someone with suicidal ideation;
- Writing or talking about death, dying or suicide
- Commenting on being helpless, hopeless, or insignificant
- A feeling of not having a reason to live without a sense of purpose and saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I need to go out. “
- A rise in alcohol or use of drugs
- Removing family, friends, and the community
- Unsuspecting behavior or dangerous activities, perhaps without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes
- Feeling stuck or feeling like a burden to other people
- Learning about ways to end our existence with simple steps
- Discussing more about life after death
- Spirituality is there new way to be
- Will try to get rid of personal belongings to allow you to disconnect with the rest
- Might speak to a few close friends, and apologize for no reason.
- If forced to speak, they will appear in a mood and exhibit provocative behavior.
- Will appear too happy or too sad, without cause.
- Will attempt self-harm methods
- They’ll be sad to see their loved ones as if they will never ever get to see them again
- Modified sleeping and eating patterns
- Suicidal thoughts are a regular aspect of their lives
Why do people feel suicidal?
Suicidal feelings can be triggered by numerous motives. While it may seem like a silly thing to some may become quite difficult for someone else. A person may then take their own life.
- Extreme levels of stress
- Extremely high degrees of depression
- Dealing with certain psychological disorders
- Positive thought patterns or thoughts are an indication of a negative thinking process
- Fear of failure or rejection in professional or romantic relationships
- “A relationship that is going through rough times
- Desperation or despair
- The passing of a loved ones
- Feeling worthless
- “Living with guilt”
- Family disputes
- Feeling trapped by your environment
- Victims of physical and physical violence
- A victim of bullying
- Victim of domestic violence
- Substance abuse is an important element
- Job loss
- A lack of faith in the future
- Failure in education
- Financial burdens
- Family disputes
- A terminal illness
- Stress in education
- Failure in business, life, etc.
However serious the situation could be, a suicide attempt is not the solution. It will only make the situation even more difficult. An ongoing attempt at suicide is a serious mental illness that requires treatment and medical care from specially trained psychologists.
The CDC report suggests a complete public health approach to suicide prevention, and it suggests a variety of strategies communities and states can implement and implement, such as teaching skills for coping and problem-solving to help people face difficulties, expanding the options for help for people in need, and bringing individuals at risk with efficient and coordinated physical and mental health services.
If someone mentions they’re contemplating suicide, pay attention and consider their concerns seriously. Do not be afraid to ask questions regarding the plans they have for themselves. Make them aware that you are concerned and that they’re not on their own. Inspire them to seek assistance immediately from a knowledgeable professional not leave them on their own. Continue to talk to them frequently, and convince the individual to talk to you.
- You can ask “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” (While many people are hesitant to ask, research has shown that this can be helpful. )
- Secure them. Make sure that they are not in contact with dangerous objects or locations.
- Be with them.
- Be attentive and pay attention to their emotions.
- Help them to connect. text or call the Suicide Lifeline and Crisis Lifeline.
Taboo and stigma around suicide
A stigmatization of mental illness and suicide is a reason why many who are thinking about taking their own lives or have attempted suicide do not seek help and, consequently, aren’t receiving the assistance they require. As of now, there are only a few countries that had suicide prevention counsels as their top health concern only 38 countries have an overall suicide prevention strategy.
Instilling a sense of community and breaking down the stigma is essential for countries to move forward in the fight against suicide. Keep in touch. Keep in contact in the aftermath of the event of a crisis.
WHO’s efforts to bring awareness on suicide
WHO acknowledges that suicide is a priority for public health. Its first WHO World Suicide Report “Preventing suicide: a global imperative” was released in 2014, and designed to increase awareness of the health implications of suicide attempts and suicide and make suicide prevention a top priority on the agenda of global public health. The report also aims to motivate and assist countries in developing or enhancing effective suicide prevention strategies that are integrated into an integrated public health approach.
Suicide is among the top priorities in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) which was established in 2008 and provides evidence-based, technical guidance to improve the quality of service and treatment across countries that suffer from mental or neurological disorders as well as substance abuse issues. In The Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, Member States have committed themselves to work towards the global objective of reducing the number of suicides of their countries by one-third by 2030.
When in distress, many people overlook the most simple method i.e. to reach out for help. You could speak to your trusted friends and family members and seek support.
These days, it has become very easy to connect with a psychologist, counsellor, or mental health specialist online. You can seek help anonymously in a stigma-free environment. You can book a session with our mental health specialists on the TickTalkTo app.
If you are feeling suicidal, you can reach out to a suicide prevention helpline.
Life is full of challenges. However, resolving them or letting things go can be one elements of survival instincts for any human. Therefore, instead of trying to put a complete stop, which isn’t the best option you must face the problem and come up with solutions. Don’t hesitate to seek help and don’t shy away from offering help.