He is said to have hanged himself in his room. The incident came to light at around 10.30 am when his parents knocked at his room and got no response. The reason for taking this extreme step is not yet known.’ How many times have we seen such headlines but left them unheeded, thinking that they do not involve us or our kith and kin? But who knows, someone close to us may be thinking of committing suicide or is having suicidal thoughts. Read to know why people take this extreme step and how to help them.
8,00,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds (World Health Organisation, 2019). Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, stops people from seeking help and reaching out for professional support. Let us break this stigma and start talking about suicide.
What are the Leading Causes of Suicide?
India and China account for 40 percent or more of the 800,000 annual suicide deaths globally (World Health Organisation, 2014). The majority of the people who commit suicide are men and in the younger age groups.
Despite the gravity of the problem, information about the causes of suicide and risk factors is insufficient. After making careful observations, we have found a number of different causes of suicide as to why someone does it.
Some of the most common causes of suicide are as follows:
- Discord in the family / Sibling rivalry
- Having an abusive relationship
- Using drugs / Abusing alcohol
- Having feelings of guilt and anger
- Ongoing exposure to bullying behavior
- Suffering from some physical or mental ailment
- Performing poorly at school or workplace
- Having a history of suicide in the immediate family or friend circle
- Grief over the loss of a loved one
- Unable to handle problems in life because of depression.
Lately, due to the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases of emotional distress, depression, and anxiety. Teenagers who have been isolated from their social circles, friend groups, and outdoor activities are experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression. Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide among teens. They feel as if life is too much for them to handle and they cannot look past those negative life experiences.
50 to 60 percent of all people who have died because of suicide gave some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member (WMICH). Teenage suicide has also become very common in the recent past. Some of these warning signs are constant lack of energy, sleep disturbances, inability to concentrate, talking about hopelessness and death, impulsive, reckless behavior, etc. The chances of committing suicide increases with the number of attempts a teenager makes. And, above all, teenage suicides can be prevented by ensuring proper communication and therapy.
Isolation can be one of the final nudges that push an individual towards taking their own lives. Now that we are confined to our houses, with minimal social interaction, the need to talk about suicide has never been more important. This global pandemic has made us face new realities of working from home, home-schooling, temporary unemployment, and lack of physical contact with friends and co-workers. Looking after our mental, as well as our physical health is of utmost importance now.
Suicide Prevention: How to stop people from committing suicide
Family and friends are the ones who need to look for signs of suicide and they should be able to differentiate them from the usual thread. If the family member feels that their loved one is depressed and suffering from a feeling of worthlessness, they should take it seriously and seek professional help immediately.
The person should not be left alone and the family people should try to encourage him or her to open up and speak about their feelings. Families need to be supportive and help their loved ones overcome depression and the unwanted feelings they are experiencing.
On an individual level, we can educate ourselves and create a safe space for dialogue for people with suicidal thoughts and can prevent suicides. Here are a few steps that we can take to prevent suicides-
- Work towards eradicating the stigma around mental health by talking about it
- Familiarise yourself with common warning signs
- Check-in on people and remind them that they are not alone
- Be a good listener and offer support
- Encourage them to seek help and reach out
- If they are not ready but are in need of help, bring help to them.
When someone commits suicide, they have lost hope. If you know someone who is feeling suicidal then check out how to help them deal with suicidal thoughts and save a life.
We are here to help. Feel free to contact us at 9611194949 to learn more information about the causes of suicide prevention and our suicide helpline.
1. What is the rank of India in Suicide?
In 2021, the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) reported that 1.64 lakh individuals committed suicide. The suicide rate surged to 11.3 in 2020 and reached a record peak of 12 in 2021. According to WHO estimates, India ranked 41st in the world for its suicide rate.
2. Which country commits the most suicide?
Lesotho, a country near South Africa, has the highest suicide rate in the world at 87.48 suicides per 100,000 people annually.
3. Which city in India has the most suicides?
In 2021, Delhi City (2,760) had the greatest number of suicide fatalities among the four major metropolitan areas, followed by Chennai (2,699), Bengaluru (2,292), and Mumbai (1,436). These four cities accounted for about 35.5% of all suicides recorded from the 53 megacities.
4. What is the underlying cause of suicide?
The underlying causes of suicide are multifaceted. They encompass various factors, including untreated mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, substance abuse, traumatic life events, social isolation, financial hardships, access to lethal means, and a sense of hopelessness. Societal stigma, cultural pressures, and inadequate mental health support further exacerbate the problem. Suicide prevention efforts must address this complex interplay of psychological, social, and environmental factors to save lives and improve mental well-being.
5. Why do people consider suicide?
People consider suicide due to various psychological factors, including:
- Mental Health Disorders: Conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness.
- Emotional Pain: Intense psychological pain, often stemming from trauma, grief, or loneliness, can overwhelm one's coping mechanisms.
- Hopelessness: A pervasive sense of hopelessness about the future can make suicide seem like the only solution.
- Impulsivity and Problem-Solving Deficits: Some individuals may act impulsively on suicidal thoughts, especially if they struggle with problem-solving or cognitive distortions.
- Low Self-Esteem and Worthlessness: Persistent feelings of worthlessness can lead to beliefs that one is a burden, contributing to suicidal ideation.
- Social Isolation: Lack of social support and feelings of isolation can intensify feelings of despair.
Substance Abuse: This can impair judgment and exacerbate underlying mental health issues, increasing the risk of suicide.