Suicide is an act when a person intentionally ends or tries to end his or her life. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why people commit suicide but most of the people who commit suicide have undergone a traumatic or stressful event or are in a state of depression or other psychological problems and see themselves in a hopeless situation.
Nearly a million people worldwide commit suicide each year, while 10- 20 million attempts suicide. In India alone, more that a 100,000 people commit suicide every year which accounts for about 10 % of the suicide deaths worldwide. The shocking fact is that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people in the 10 - 24 age bracket.
Mental disorders are one of the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide. Often it is related to serious depression, alcohol substance abuse or a major stressful event or other kinds of mental illness.
Can suicide be prevented?
Suicide is usually the last option for any individual. It is the final desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable for the person who cannot see any other escape route expect death. But most people who are determined about committing suicide are still in a state of conflict and deeply wish that there was an alternative to suicide. If early warning signs of suicide are recognized, suicide can be prevented through proper interventions
Most people do give warning signals about their intention to commit suicide. These include talking about killing oneself, seeking information about tools like say rope, sleeping pills which aid in killing oneself, exhibit signs of hopelessness, have dramatic mood swings, lose interest in his/ her appearance, show changes in eating and sleeping habits and appear to be suddenly withdrawn.
The generic warning signs are:
- Talking about suicide and preoccupation with death
- Being critical of themselves
- Withdrawing from others
- Showing signs of self destructive behavior
- Lose interest in appearance/ day to day activities
- Suddenly display a pessimistic approach to life
- Make unexpected visits to friends / relatives to say goodbye
- Make efforts to streamline family responsibilities ( eg: write a will)
- Sudden sense of calm in an agitated person
Myths and Facts about Suicide
Myth: Persons who commit suicide do it at the spur of the moment
Fact : A large number of suicide cases are premeditated
Myth : People who talk about suicide don’t kill themselves
Fact : Almost everyone who attempts suicide gives some indication and one of the most prominent indication is talking about suicide.
Myth : You cannot stop a person from killing himself
Fact : Suicide is an act of desperation. Most of them are in a state of conflict and could
Myth : People who want to commit suicide are unwilling to talk about their problems
Fact : They might appear withdrawn, but proper care and counseling can have the desired effect.
Myth : Talking about suicide is negative and would give ideas especially to young people
Fact : It is just a myth that talking about suicide may give ideas.Its positive to talk about suicide and keep people informed
Common Questions on Suicide
Why do people kill themselves?
There is no simple answer to this question. People die by suicide for a number of reasons. But generally, people who commit suicide have undergone a traumatic or stressful event or are in a state of depression and see themselves in a hopeless situation.
Do people attempt suicide to prove something or to get sympathy?
No. A suicide attempt is a cry for help, it is their escape route from a hopeless situation
Most people who attempt or commit suicide don't really want to die - they just want their pain and suffering to end. It is not done to gain someone’s sympathy.
Why do depressive illnesses sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts?
Depressive illnesses can lead to a situation of hopelessness. The chemical imbalance in the brain and deep despair can lead the affected person to try and find ways to end the pain. Depressive illnesses can distort a person vision to act rationally.
Is a person at increased risk to attempt suicide if they’ve been exposed to it in their family or friends circle
Suicidal tendencies do run in families, but this is attributed to the genetic component of depression. A healthy person talking about a suicide or being aware of a suicide does not put him/her at greater risk for attempting suicide.
Why do people attempt suicide when they appear to feel better?
When a person has taken a firm decision to commit suicide, he might feel relieved that the pain and suffering is finally getting over. Sometimes a severely depressed person contemplating suicide doesn't have enough energy This relieves some anxiety, which makes them appear calmer in the period preceding a suicide attempt.
If a person's mind is made up, can he be stopped?
Very much ! Suicide is usually the last option for any individual. But most people who are determined about committing suicide are still in a state of conflict and deeply wish that there was an alternative to suicide.