by Marshaneil Soumi D’ Rozario | 19th Dec, 2018
The Indian Union Health Ministry estimates that 1.2 lakh people commit suicide every year in India. Suicidal attempts are common in people under 35 years. Whilst many teenage and adult suicides are attempted impulsively, elderly suicides are well planned and are often done with great determination. Due to rich cultural values, our elders are often well supported and respected in families, therefore we do not see many elderly suicides in India. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and triggers and taking them seriously.
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life on purpose. It can be a consequence of mental illness or a result of environmental factors, such as unemployment, financial distress, marital disharmony, relationship breakup, serious physical illness, drug or alcohol misuse, bereavement, and other significant life events. Suicide is an important cause of mortality. Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders,) bipolar disorder, psychosis, personality disorders, and impulsiveness are major risk factors for suicide. Many times individuals with suicidal thoughts and behavior are unwilling to disclose their thoughts and feelings to others for fear of being rejected, being seen as weak individuals, or being seen as flawed in some way.
Dr. Daljeet Kaur, MBBS, MRC Psych (UK), Consultant Psychiatrist, Virinchi Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, said, ‘It should be taken seriously when people start talking about ending their life or even about suicide in general. They might be isolating themselves and avoiding social interactions with family and friends. Be cautious if a person has attempted suicide in the past or if they have a history of self-harming behaviour’.
Family members should strengthen their interpersonal relationships with the suicidal individual. They should offer good social support, help them get treated for any psychological, emotional and psychiatric problems (i.e. depression, psychosis, loneliness, alcohol and drug problems,) guide and support them with regards to financial issues, and counsel them regarding relationship issues. This valuable support will protect them and help them cope with suicidal thoughts. Medication can be used to treat mental illnesses and to reduce impulsivity. Since suicide is a public health issue, various factors, such as social, cultural and environmental factors, also need to be improved to reduce these symptoms.
Prevention can be done by identifying the risk factors for the individual and addressing them. A few risk factors include:
Access to methods (medication, weapons)
A family member who committed suicide
History of hurting themselves intentionally
History of being neglected or abused
Living in communities where there have been recent incidents of suicide in young people
Romantic relationship breakup
According to Dr. Daljeet Kaur, ‘Experiencing suicidal thoughts and ideation can be very distressing. You may feel as though you are stuck in a situation and that there is no way out. However, there is a lot of support available through family, friends, and professionals. I would suggest you visit a psychiatrist who can perform a thorough assessment of your mental state, conduct a risk assessment and share it with you (and your near ones) so precautions and support can be put in place. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, though depression is always treatable!’
For Appointment: Dr.Daljeet Kaur
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