Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.

It is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious potential consequence of treatable mental disorders that includes major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

The World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year to raise awareness regarding the precautions that can be taken to prevent these tragedies. “Working Together To Prevent Suicide”, the theme of  World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 educates everyone that each one of us has an important role to play to help prevent suicides across the world and save more lives.

Suicide warning signs
If you know someone showing any suicidal signs, reach out to them. Suicidal warning signs should be taken very seriously. Early detection of warning signs can lead to professional help and mental health treatment and can even save a life. Here are the most common potential warning signs for suicide:

  • Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Changes in personality and/or appearance
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Changing the normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly.
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed

Who is at risk?
Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. There are certain situations, conditions, and other factors that put some people at a greater risk of becoming suicidal. Here are a few of them:

  • Having a untreated mental illness, particularly depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder
  • Having a substance use disorder
  • Sudden stressful or traumatic situations, like the loss of a loved one
  • Loss of job or financial crisis
  • Being seriously ill, living with a chronic or terminal illness
  • Relationship problems
  • Having experienced childhood trauma and abuse

Timely counselling can prevent suicides
In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, notice any signs of suicidal behaviour and take action before the person can attempt suicide.

If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide. In some cases, the person just needs to know that someone cares and is looking for the chance to talk about his or her feelings. You can then encourage the person to seek professional help.

Suicide statistics
As per World Health Organisation (WHO) 8 lakh people across the globe end their life by committing suicide every year. One of three among them is an Indian. As per reports, India reported about 381 suicides daily for the year of 2019, marking an increase of nearly 3.4% suicide deaths as compared to 2018. In the year 2019, 139,123 suicides were reported, as compared to 2018, which saw 134,516 suicides and 2017 which recorded 1,29,887 fatalities.

Suicide does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status may feel suicidal at any point in their lives. Even someone who seems to be happy or to “have it all” can be vulnerable to suicide. If you or a loved one needs help, feel free to consult our highly trained counsellors for professional help at our Department of Psychiatry.

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