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How To Stop People Who Commit Suicide: Prevention Strategies

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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.

Understanding Suicide

Suicide is often a tragic response to intense suffering and a feeling of unbearable pain. Individuals who consider suicide typically experience overwhelming emotions such as deep self-hatred, hopelessness, and a sense of isolation, making it hard for them to envision any solution other than death. Although they may desperately wish for an alternative to ending their lives, their mental state can prevent them from seeing possible ways out of their distress. Essentially, suicide can be seen as a last resort for those who feel utterly trapped by their circumstances and emotional pain.

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 the 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 life. 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.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Recognizing the warning signs of suicide is crucial for prevention. Here are key indicators that someone may be considering suicide, summarized into clear points:

  • Expressing Suicidal Thoughts: Direct statements or hints about wanting to harm themselves or end their life, such as "I wish I were dead" or "I can't see any way out."
  • Fascination with Death: An unusual preoccupation with death, dying, or violence, including writing or talking extensively about these topics.
  • Seeking Means to Suicide: Actively looking for ways to kill oneself, like searching for guns, pills, or other lethal objects.
  • Hopelessness: Expressing a deep sense of hopelessness about the future, with beliefs that nothing will ever improve or change.
  • Overwhelming Feelings of Self-Loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred, often stating they feel like a burden to others.
  • Putting Affairs in Order: Suddenly organizing personal affairs, making a will, or giving away valued possessions as if preparing for their absence.
  • Saying Goodbye: Making unexpected or unusual calls or visits to say goodbye to friends and family, as if they won't be seen again.
  • Withdrawal: Pulling away from social interactions, wanting to be left alone, and isolating from friends and family.
  • Engaging in Risky Behavior: Showing reckless behavior, such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, driving dangerously, or engaging in unsafe sex, as if they don't care about living.
  • Dramatic Mood Swings: Experiencing significant changes in mood, from extreme depression to a sudden calmness, which may indicate they have decided to end their life.

Understanding and acting on these signs can save lives. If you notice someone displaying any of these behaviors, it's important to express your concern, offer support, and seek professional help immediately.

Main Risk Factors for Suicide

Suicide risk can affect anyone regardless of their background, but certain factors can increase the likelihood of someone considering or attempting suicide. Here are the primary risk factors, summarized into key points:

  • Previous Suicide Attempts: Individuals who have attempted suicide in the past are at a higher risk of trying again.
  • Mental Health Disorders: Conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders significantly elevate the risk, especially when not treated.
  • Substance Use Disorders: Abuse of alcohol, drugs, and other substances can increase vulnerability to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
  • Chronic Pain: Ongoing physical pain can lead to despair and suicidal thoughts.
  • Family History: A background of mental health disorders or substance abuse in the family, as well as a family history of suicide, raises the risk.
  • Exposure to Violence: Experiencing or witnessing family violence, including physical or sexual abuse, can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • Access to Firearms: The presence of guns or other firearms in the home can increase the risk, particularly if someone is already considering suicide.
  • Recent Release from Incarceration: Individuals recently released from prison or jail may face challenges that increase their suicide risk.
  • Exposure to Suicide: Knowing someone personally, such as a family member, peer, or even a celebrity, who has attempted or committed suicide can influence suicidal behavior.
  • Stressful Life Events: Experiences like the loss of a loved one, legal or financial problems, and significant life changes can act as catalysts, especially when combined with other risk factors.
  • Interpersonal Stress: Experiencing bullying, discrimination, relationship issues, or any form of harassment can contribute to the risk, particularly in vulnerable individuals.

While these factors can increase the risk, it's crucial to remember that not everyone with these risk factors will attempt suicide. However, recognizing and addressing these risks, especially when someone shows warning signs of suicide, is vital for prevention and providing the necessary support and intervention.

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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 members 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 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.

Effective Treatments and Therapies for Individuals at Risk of Suicide

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors. By learning to recognize these patterns, people can develop healthier ways of coping with stress and distressing situations, reducing the likelihood of suicidal thoughts.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Particularly effective for adolescents and adults with borderline personality disorder, DBT focuses on teaching coping mechanisms to manage distressing emotions and improve relationships. It combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts of mindfulness and acceptance, aiming to reduce suicidal behavior by fostering better emotional and behavioral regulation.
  • Brief Intervention Strategies: These include practical approaches like creating a safety plan, which outlines specific steps to take when experiencing suicidal thoughts, and ensuring follow-up care for individuals at risk. Research supports that these strategies, along with promoting the safe storage of potentially lethal means, can significantly decrease the likelihood of suicide attempts.
  • Collaborative Care: This team-based approach integrates mental health care into the primary health care setting. A care manager coordinates with the individual, their primary care provider, and mental health specialists to create and implement a personalized treatment plan. This method has proven effective in treating depression and reducing suicidal ideation by ensuring continuous support and monitoring.

Each of these treatments and therapies offers a different approach to managing and reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors, emphasizing the importance of personalized care tailored to the individual's specific needs and circumstances.

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Rehabilitation Centre can help you with its team of specialized experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage their ADHD Suicidal thoughts. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 96111 94949

Book screening with our director of triage,  Kamlesh Verma
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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.

6. Why do people Commit Suicide?

People commit suicide for a multitude of complex and deeply personal reasons, often stemming from an inability to cope with intense emotional pain. Common factors include mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, traumatic experiences, significant losses, or chronic illness. The despair can feel insurmountable, leading individuals to believe that suicide is the only escape from their suffering.

7. What are the reasons for committing suicide?

Reasons for committing suicide vary widely but often involve a combination of psychological, social, and environmental factors. These can include enduring mental illness, facing insurmountable stress or life challenges, experiencing isolation or a lack of support, dealing with the aftermath of trauma or abuse, and feeling a profound sense of hopelessness about the future. Each individual’s reasons are deeply personal and reflect a belief that their pain is too overwhelming to continue enduring.

8. Why would a person commit Suicide?

A person might commit suicide when they feel overwhelmed by despair and see no other way to alleviate their suffering. This extreme step can result from various factors, including mental health issues, intense emotional pain, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, or significant life crises. Ultimately, it reflects a belief that death is the only escape from an unbearable situation.

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