According to the 2019 statistics by WHO, approximately 80,000 individuals commit suicide yearly. Suicide is considered to be the third most causes of death among teenagers. And around 79% of the world suicide rate is from the lower and middle economic status families. These are not mere numbers but an alarming truth and a global issue that needs to be addressed, immediately. Since the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has commemorated September 10 as the World Suicide Prevention Day, an insight to this matter is a necessity. A person might go through different thoughts and feelings, the moment they hear about someone who has committed suicide. And more importantly ponder through different questions about why they could have taken such a decision, how come I did not recognise what the person was going through or feelings of regret as well as to why I couldn’t help the person. Indeed, sometimes we are clueless as to how we can support an individual going through the risk of suicide.
Who needs that extra care or that extra attention would be the most critical query that needs to be resolved first. Studies have shown that people diagnosed with mental disorders are at the risk of committing suicide, and that has constituted to about 90% of the global suicide rate. Clinically diagnosed disorders: firstly, affective disorders, that affect the way one thinks or feels, i.e. depression, were considered to be prone to the risk of suicide, especially in female. Personality disorders such as anti-social and borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorders and even specific eating disorders were found to have casual links with suicide threat. And lastly, substance abuse individuals and more specifically alcohol abuse. Other factors that also need to be paid attention to are the previous record of self-harm, family influence and history, and their status of social relationships over a period.
There are a lot of misconceptions about people with suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Since a lot has been discussed around mental disorders being a threat to suicidal risk, many might assume that sheer mental illness can be the only possibility for suicidal threat. Well, that’s not the case, not all who attempt suicide has a mental disorder since the intention to commit suicide is due to feelings of profound unhappiness, which would lead to lose self-worth and take the chance of losing their life. So all diagnosed with disorders need not have the intention to commit suicide and vice versa.
Another common false impression is that people who talk about suicide don’t intend to commit suicide. Well, often people also judge that never such talks should be fostered as it might be thought of as an encouragement to fall prey to such acts. However, in reality, the situation turns out to be in contrast, as people who would decide to start disclosing their thoughts and feelings, suggests that they need help as they are at a state of hopelessness. It is, therefore, vital to support and acknowledge their current state with empathy. Helping them to regain their self-worth needs to be the first step if one is confused about how to approach such a person. Indeed, if a person communicates their intentions and feelings on suicide, they may or may not intend to. But still, special care and support by listening and showing concern is essential to help them in taking the right step forward and also to get a clear outlook as to what are their deep intentions.
In terms of dealing with such harmful thoughts or actions, it depends on the trigger factors of the individual. One of the most suitable approaches for the majority that could support them is through counselling or seeking therapy. Therapy could help those individuals in providing techniques to manage their emotions and to regulate their thoughts more productively. Along with psychotherapy, suitable changes in handling one’s way of life in terms of diet, exercise, and sleep pattern in a healthier manner would help them to have better control over their life and therefore reduce the tendency of suicide. These days, a lot of resources are available to educate oneself for helping as well for those individuals with suicidal risk as part of suicide prevention. Silence cannot help in any way as it would just worsen the situation. Talk, listen and reflect, and that could definitely bring in a lot of possibilities in one’s life filled with more rewarding options than taking their own life.