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Why Suicide Prevention  Is Everyone’s Business

Why Suicide Prevention Is Everyone’s Business

Did you know that 1 person every 40 seconds commits suicide? This alarming figure adds up to 8,00,000 people dying by suicide every year. While suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged between15-29 years, the tragedy is often preventable.

You’d therefore agree that suicide prevention is indeed everyone’s business. WHO believes that a few compassionate words can indeed make a world of a difference to someone struggling. The National Health Portal too recommends collaboration and working together in suicide prevention to be a powerful way forward. The Government body also endorses that every individual, family, friend, colleague, educator, leader and healthcare provider along with political leaders and governments have a moral and social responsibility and an effective role to play in mitigating the challenges posed by suicidal behaviours.

 So this World Suicide Prevention Day let’s join hands to collectively raise awareness and offer care to those in distress. Read on to know how you can help someone in need and do your bit in saving a life.

Care, Compassionate and Conversation Can Go a Long Way!
Often many of us may hesitate to address suicidal thoughts, intervene or hold a conversation with someone considering giving up for the fear of not knowing enough on the matter. It is, however, suggested that genuine concern, empathy, compassion with the knowledge of resources and a will to listen and reach out are crucial in preventing and avoiding such a tragedy. Being compassionate and reaching out is, therefore, the first step and the way ahead. 

Recognize Warning Signs
Signs of hopelessness, being reckless, engaging in risky activities, increased use of alcohol or drug abuse, withdrawal from society, feelings of anxiousness, extreme mood swings, agitation or revenge along with a general feeling of being stuck are some of the warning signs to watch out for. In case you detect any of these signs, ensure you address these with loads of love, an open, non-judgemental mind and show oodles of empathy to restore hope and life. Sit calmly with your loved one, be a good listener, and encourage them to reach out to you. Ensure you hear them out entirely before jumping the gun and offering advice. Any small gesture can help indicate your support and empathy to change the course of someone’s life. If you know a family member, a friend or an acquaintance struggling with hopelessness and signs of willingness to give up, ensure you are available to lend a hand and get some professional assistance along the way. WHO in its 4 key suicide intervention strategies recommends that signs of suicide should be identified and managed early on in people who are contemplating suicide or who have made previously attempted to give up.

Restrict Access to Means
According to a WHO 2019 data, the ingestion of pesticide, hanging, firearms and overdose are among the most common methods used to commit suicide globally. An important step therefore, for caregivers, friends and those around vulnerable individuals is to monitor and restrict access to such items. Additionally, WHO also recommends the same for people who are prone to suicidal thoughts, talks or behaviours or have attempted suicide previously.

Never Trivialize a Problem
Suicides are indeed preventable in societies that are aware and ready to break down the stigma and taboo associated with mind matters. While many may not identify with their problems or consider them to be serious enough to warrant suicidal thoughts or behaviours, it is essential to be empathetic and never discount the feelings of someone in crisis. A good way to be truly helpful is to practice patience and the art of listening without passing judgments or being dismissive of their experiences or emotions. Never dismiss any suicidal threats or talks or trivialize feelings being experienced. All feelings should be taken seriously and handled responsibly. If you know a young person who is in crisis, look for means to help them develop skills to cope with high-pressure situations.

While the crisis of suicide is serious, it is heartening to know that it can be prevented with a good balance of timely support, professional intervention and collective efforts at the individual, community and society level.

By: Anubha Hatwal | on 2020-09-10

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