World Mental Health Day 2019 Theme – Suicide Prevention
Every year, 10th October is celebrated worldwide as World Mental Health Day. It is an initiative taken by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread awareness about the importance of mental health in ensuring overall well-being of an individual. To mark the event, we at AKGsOVIHAMS are offering 50% concession on all Psychological Services like – psychological consultation, psychotherapy, counselling and psychological assessment from 7th – 12th October, 2019 (*Strictly by appointment).
The theme for this year is Suicide Prevention.
According to the WHO, every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. A report released by the WHO stated India’s suicide rate at 16.5 suicides per 1,00,000 people; the highest in the South-East Asian region. It was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, claiming 200,000 lives in 2016, topped only by road injury. It is a grave situation and we need to do a lot more on that front. So this World Mental Health Day let us all make an effort to understand how we can be the support when it’s needed the most.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can’t see one.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUICIDE
MYTH: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
FACT: Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
MYTH: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
FACT: Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
MYTH: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
FACT: Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
MYTH: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
FACT: Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
MYTH: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
FACT: You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE
Suicide prevention begins with identifying the warning signs and taking them seriously. Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved. Some of the major warning signs for suicide could be:-
Talking about suicide or harming oneself; reading about ways to commit suicide or writing poems or stories about death.
Talking or seeking out lethal weapons like knives, pills, guns, or any other object that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness either verbally or in terms of one’s actions like not engaging in previously exciting and enjoyable activities; having a bleak outlook towards the future; statements like ―Everyone would be better off without me!
Sudden change in the person’s behaviour and personality; withdrawing from people; drawing out a will or setting things in order; a sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed could mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.
If you spot any of these signs in your dear ones just talk to them and let the person know that you care. The right words are often not important; if you are concerned your voice and manner will show it.
WHAT TO DO?
It is natural to feel uncomfortable, apprehensive, fearful or even afraid if you are in a situation wherein your loved one, or any other person for that matter is contemplating suicide or is threatening to commit it. But anyone who threatens or is showing other warning signs requires immediate help. Talking to such a person can be extremely difficult for anyone but the most critical intervention in fact is asking the person if he/she is thinking of committing suicide. Asking this question will not plant an idea of actually committing suicide, you cannot make a person suicidal by showing that you care. The very act of approaching and asking this question can give an opportunity to the person to express his/her pent-up feelings and provide relief from the loneliness he/she was feeling.
WHAT TO SAY?
When talking to a person who is suicidal just be yourself. Let the person know that you care and that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant at that moment as love and concern is communicated even through our voice and manners. Some of the ways in which one can start a conversation could be:-
• I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
• Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
In addition to this, listening to the other person is extremely important. Let him/her express all that he/she is going through. The conversation might seem very negative but the fact that it is taking place is a positive sign. Be sympathetic, accepting, calm and non-judgmental for whatever the other person expresses. Another way to help him/her would be to offer help and hope. Saying something like – “You are not alone, I’m here with you” or “You may not believe it now but the way you’re feeling will change”.
WHAT NOT TO SAY/DO?
Since we are talking about a crisis situation which at times can be overwhelming for some of us, taking the following points into consideration can prove extremely beneficial. While talking to a person who is suicidal, don’t get into an argument; avoid saying such things as “You have so much to live for” or “Your suicide will hurt your family”. The person knows all this; they don’t want to die, they just want to stop hurting. Similarly, don’t give a lecture on the value of life or say that suicide is wrong. It will not serve the purpose of reducing the pain or suffering he/she is experiencing.
In addition to this, it is of essence that you (the helper) do not blame yourself for the situation. You cannot “fix” someone’s depression. Your loved one’s happiness, or the lack of it, is not your responsibility. It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his/her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. If you or anyone you know seems suicidal or is having even fleeting suicidal thoughts, it is recommended to consult a mental health professional at the earliest. Suicide is preventable. Even Homoeopathy has proven very beneficial in combatting suicidal thoughts.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog is for News Reporting and Educational Purposes Only.