World Suicide Prevention Day

By: Gautham Jayakrishnan

“The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over.” — Ernest Hemingway

An approximate one million people die each year as a result of suicide, i.e., about one in 10,000 deaths (1.4% of all deaths), or a death every 40 seconds or about 3,000 deaths every day.

In the high risk of suicide, depression is the most common psychological condition. Fifty per cent of people in high-income countries who die from suicide suffer from major depressive disorder at death.

History of World Suicide Prevention Day

With the busy lifestyles these days, we do not even have time for ourselves. Stress and anxiety are all we have as our constant companions. Taking some time out and processing our thoughts are some of the things I am sure most of us have forgotten about.

This is one of the prime reasons behind the deteriorating mental health of many of us. Because if we do not resolve the issues amongst ourselves, these are going to stay unattended. Thus, it gives rise to unforeseen problems.

World Suicide Prevention Day was first introduced by International Association for Suicide Prevention in 2003. World Federation for Mental Health and World Health Organization are co-sponsors of this day.

Significance

The day is observed to raise awareness about suicide prevention and encourage understanding. The day informs people how to deal with suicidal thoughts and how to comfort your friend if he/ she is depressed.

The day also emphasizes the importance of reducing social stigma related to suicide and mental health problems. The stigma surrounding these topics must be reduced so that one will feel more comfortable in coming forward to seek help if they are facing problems with their mental health.

Theme for 2021

The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, “Creating hope through action,” reflects the need for collective, action to address this urgent public health issue. All of us- family members, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments- can take action to prevent suicide in the Region.

How to Deal/Help in a Situation

While talking about suicide is a lot more accepted than it used to be, when it was often ‘brushed under the carpet’, there can still be a certain stigma around the subject. This means it can be difficult for people to open up when they’re struggling.

So what could you do if you’re worried that someone you know might be considering suicide, or if a friend or family member has reached out to you for help? If you’re happy to talk to them and offer support, the first step is to try and find out where they’re at.

Start a conversation. The aim is to get them talking, give them permission to explore how they feel, and establish whether they want or need help. Don’t be afraid that broaching the topic might put ideas in their head: this won’t trigger any suicidal thoughts, but it could prevent someone following through with them.

Ask what sort of help they’d like at this moment. Some people will just want to be listened to, while others will need help with solving a problem, or with accessing some kind of formal support or treatment.

Think about the best course of action. It’s important to remember that it’s not your responsibility to provide a solution, but you may well be able to help someone find the right avenue of support. This might involve simply finding an appropriate helpline number and encouraging them to call it.

The Govt. have launched helpline numbers and care centres for those with suicidal thoughts. This might help some people get through what they feel at the time of instance of having a mental breakdown.

Wrapping It Up

While World Suicide Prevention Day is just a day observed to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental health, the necessity to remove this stigma remains constant.

Hesitation around the topic of mental health has led to flawed strategies, but ignorance is never the answer. Suicide is not a joke. And whatever be the cause, feeling of loneliness and hopelessness are always a part of it.

So, at the end of the day, all you need to do is form a supportive, respectful and harmonious environment and foster purpose, joy, and connection in the environment.

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