The World Health Organization estimates that one million people worldwide commit suicide every year. What drives so many people to kill themselves? It’s difficult for those who aren’t suffering from suicidal depression and despair to understand what drives so many people to commit suicide. A suicidal person, on the other hand, is in so much pain that they see no other way out. Suicide is a serious public health issue because it is the second leading cause of death (after accidents) for people aged 10 to 34.
A recent stressor or sudden catastrophic event, failure, can leave people feeling desperate, unable to see a way out, and become a “tipping point” toward suicide in some cases.
The complexities of suicide are highlighted in a recent CDC report. While many people have a mental health condition, the report notes that “many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions.” Suicide was most often caused by a relationship problem and problematic substance use.
Suicide is linked to mental disorders, particularly depression and alcohol use disorders, and a previous suicide attempt is the strongest risk factor for suicide. According to the CDC, 54% of people who died by suicide had no known mental health conditions. But a lot of them might have been struggling with mental health issues that nobody knew about or had not yet received a diagnosis.
The CDC report recommends a thorough public health approach to prevent suicide and identifies a number of strategies that states and communities can implement, including actions like teaching coping and problem-solving skills to help people manage challenges, expanding options for temporary assistance for those in need, and connecting people at risk to efficient and coordinated mental and physical health care.
What to do if you’re worried about a friend or loved one? Here are five recommendations from the CDC:
- Ask a question “Do you have any thoughts of committing suicide?” Despite possible reluctance, research demonstrates the value of this.
- Keep them protected. Limit access to dangerous objects or locations.
- Join them there. Pay close attention as you listen and acknowledge your feelings.
- Aid their communication. Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by phone or text.
- Maintain contact. After a crisis, follow up and stay in touch.
In India, suicides are most common among people under 30. The fact that people under the age of 44 account for 71% of suicides in India places a tremendous social, emotional, and financial burden on our society. According to the consistently low male:female ratio of 1.4: 1, the suicide rate for young people in India is higher than the suicide rate in the West.
The most frequent suicide methods were self-immolation (7.9%), hanging (32.1%), and poisoning (36.6%). The annual suicide rate in rural Tamil Nadu is six to nine times higher than the official rate, according to two sizable epidemiological verbal autopsy studies. Extrapolating from these numbers, it appears that India experiences at least 500,000 suicides annually. In our nation, suicide is thought to affect one in every 60 people. Both those who have attempted suicide and those who have been impacted by the suicide of a close relative or friend are included in this category. Suicide is a significant public health issue that requires immediate attention.
The Psychology of Suicidal Behavior
“Suicide clusters,” which are a series of suicides that mostly involve young people and take place in a small area over a brief period of time, can occasionally receive a lot of media attention. These spread like wildfire, especially when they’ve been made to seem glamorous, leading to “copycat suicides.” This phenomenon has frequently been seen in India, particularly after the passing of a famous person, most frequently a politician or a movie star. Similar suicides have been caused by the media’s extensive coverage of these suicides. Copying techniques from movies is another common occurrence. This is a significant issue, particularly in India, where movie stars have iconic status and enormous influence, especially among the younger generation who frequently look up to them as role models.
Suicide attempts are a criminal offense in India. In accordance with Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, “whoever attempts suicide or does any act tending to the commission of such an offense shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term, which may extend to one year, or with a fine or with both.”
However, it has turned out that the law’s intention to prevent suicide through legal means is counterproductive. People who have attempted suicide are not given emergency care because many hospitals and medical professionals are reluctant to give the necessary care out of concern for potential legal issues. Since many attempts are labeled as accidental in order to avoid involvement with law enforcement and the legal system, it is challenging to determine the precise statistics on suicide attempts.
How to stop suicidal thoughts and how to prevent suicide?
The first step in preventing suicide is to be aware of and take warning signs seriously. If you suspect a friend or family member is suicidal, there are several things you can do to help save a life.
- Bolster the stability of household finances
- Reduce the lack of medical professionals in underserved areas
- Reduce the availability of deadly weapons to those who are at suicide risk.
- Encourage interconnectedness through peer-review programs and activities that engage the community.
- Instilling coping and problem-solving techniques.
- Lessen damage and reduce risk in the future
- Treat people to prevent re-attempts
- Teach parenting skills and family relationship programs
Given the complexity of the suicide problem, multifaceted suicide prevention programs are necessary. To create and carry out a national plan that is affordable, appropriate, and pertinent to community needs, cooperation, coordination, and commitment are required. In India, to prevent suicide is more of a social and public health goal than a conventional mental health practice. The opportunity has arisen for mental health professionals to take the initiative and take the lead in saving the lives of thousands of young Indians.