A Student Hanging Himself in Hostel Room at FTII Pune
The act of committing/ attempting suicide can be perceived of as escaping from one’s personal responsibilities and duties in face of challenges. More often than not individuals thinking of ending their lives go through a lot of mental stress and pressure. These individuals engage in suicidal ideation or the process of planning suicide. The rising incidences of suicides in recent times draw our attention to this serious public health problem.
Why does the thought of suicide strike an individual?
When people experiencing heightened levels of stress, anxiety, social pressures, depressive thoughts, rejection, negative emotions, and physical and psychological problems have a hard time coping up and making adjustmental changes, they feel that the only way to restore order and peace is by ending their own lives. They refrain from seeking help from mental health professionals due to social stigma and their efforts to convey their situation to those in their immediate contacts usually go unnoticed. Sooner or later, they feel like they are not “good enough” and that nobody values them. They try to isolate themselves and suffer through their mental ailments behind closed doors and in silence.
Identifying the risk factors:
A person with a history of mental disorders, having previously attempted suicide, engaging into substance abuse, being associated with a negative peer group, living in a disturbed family environment, and undergoing social and work pressures is at a greater risk of being involved in self-destructive activity.
Having distorted thoughts, talking about wanting to die, constant feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, experiencing low self-esteem, extreme negative emotions, displaying drastic behavioural changes, social withdrawal, lack of motivation and a zeal to live are all warning signs of someone involved in suicidal ideation.
What could be done?
As observed, mental disorders have a role to play in case of suicidal deaths. Vigilance on part of family members and friends can help in suicide prevention. Identifying the risk factors and warning signs is a first step in preventing suicides. Apart from that the following measures could be undertaken by loved ones and social elements in general to avoid a person from self-destruction:
Parents- Suicide has become a topic of concern as it has claimed lives of today’s young adults largely. Parents can check up on their children and not overlook hints dropped in such as amplified aggressive behaviour, personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder, overthinking problems, indulging into risky behaviours or any other action indicating a suicidal tendency. Children should have the freedom of choosing their field of study as if they fail to cope up with the exam pressure, they could take a grave step of ending their life. Parents also need to make sure they do not exert pressure on their children while deciding their career paths as it may backfire when they enter into the workforce and are unable to fulfill the job requirements.
Friends- Friends serve as close observers of an individual’s mental status as they are generally aware of a person’s relationship status, ego issues, conflicts, drug addiction problems, financial crisis etc. They can closely monitor the person’s behaviour and confront him/ her in case they feel their friend indulges in self-destructive behaviour. Speaking up if any change is noticed gives a chance to the person with suicidal thoughts to confide in and express his/her insecurities without hesitation. Getting bullied in school or college by seniors or peers is something which a person considers shameful and seeks for self-isolation.
Partners- If a loved one is constantly mentioning about having his/ her suicide planned, such statements should not be ignored or considered a joke. Teenagers/ adults, facing rejection from someone they admire, may call for anger, self-doubt and an urge to prove their “love”which may cost them their life. Failed marriages/ relationships force an individual to engage in self-depreciating talk which makes the individual feel he/she is not enough who further abstains from forming new bonds.
Society- The social stigma is the reason the society calls out individuals seeking mental treatment by names which lowers their morale and prevents them from continuing with their therapy thus suffering through the ailment in a hush hush manner.
Suicide prevention begins from identifying warning signs and considering them seriously. Offering support, and a hear to listen to all the things that have led them to the very thought of ending their life, being non judgemental, providing a shoulder to lean on and portraying empathy instead of disregarding the person’s thoughts completely helps them reevaluate their decision. Family/ friends need to evaluate the level of risk involved on a scale from high to low. If the dangers seem high connecting with a local suicide prevention centre is important. Making sure to not leave the vulnerable person alone to deal with his own worries and putting away objects that could be injurious is important. Seeking professional help is the next step to be encountered after managing to stop the person from committing suicide. Carrying up a follow-up plan, suggesting lifestyle changes, working on behaviour modification if need be and ensuring the person of a “3 am a friend”, constant support, approachability whenever required is something a person vulnerable to suicide should receive.