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SUICIDE

Suicide is a problem for all societies, amongst people of all socioeconomic status and walks of life. An individual can attempt suicide due to some immediate events {eg- failure in exams}or due to some prolonged stressors{such as continuous loss in business}. Proper psychological intervention in the time of crisis helps a person to use healthy methods of coping with suicidal thoughts.




According to WHO, globally 800000 people die by suicide every year, i.e. 1person every 40 seconds. 77% of global suicides occur in low and middle income countries, out of which 17% of them are residents of India.On an average- there are 381 suicides daily in India. It is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.


Some facts:


  1. Suicide is a complex behavior and sometimes it may not be a response to the current problem that a person is experiencing.

  2. Mostly, suicidal people desperately want to live, but they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.

  3. Mostly, suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions. Also, talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.

Risk Factors:


  1. Presence of depression

  2. Any recent significant stress

  3. Poor social support

  4. Impulsivity

  5. Family history of depression and suicide

  6. Previous suicide attempts

  7. Substance abuse- alcohol, cannabis

Warning signs to look out for:

The most important aspect of helping someone who is at risk of suicide is to identify him/her at the right juncture and assist on seeking help. The work can be done by anyone in society who can work as ‘Gatekeepers’.


Warning signs:


  1. Talking/writing about hopeless conditions, meaningless life

  2. Expressing wishes to die

  3. Preparation- such as arranging means, writing will, giving away personal possessions.

  4. Expressing the feelings of being trapped or being a burden to others

  5. Socially withdrawing. Sleep disturbance

  6. Mood swings

What can a gatekeeper do?

Just like we do CPR in cardiac arrest, similarly, a simple method known as QPR has been suggested. It refers to Question, Persuade and Refer. Thus, exploring if someone has Suicidal thoughts; Persuading him/ her to seek help; make an adequate referral so that an individual may get timely help.


How to deal with an individual who has suicidal thoughts:


  1. Ask, but don’t be judgemental,

  2. Empathize for emotions, do not sympathize,

  3. Do not minimize- judgemental statements, such as “how can you think of committing suicide for such a trivial issue?” can be avoided. Remember it can be trivial for you but very serious for another person.

  4. Take every attempt seriously, do not trivialize the situation.

Be a good listener and discuss the problems so as to find out appropriate solutions. Offer support, talk about past achievements and offer hope for future.


If you are having suicidal thoughts:

Know that there is adequate help available.

Reach out and seek help.

Remember, whatever you are going through is temporary, it will pass.

Talk to friends or family or who so ever is close to you, seek help from Mental Health Professional and always remember that you are never alone.

Thus, every action can connect someone to life and the help they want. Preventing suicide, requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain.






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