Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that feels unbearable. Individuals at a high risk of suicide are often deeply conflicted about dying by suicide because they have a strong desire to end their problems, their life. Blinded by hopelessness, isolation, self-loathing or other difficult feelings or thoughts they are often unable to find a solution to end their pain other than taking their own life.
With 419 suicides per day or 153052 suicides annually makes India the country with the most suicides globally. China, with a larger population, has far fewer suicides than India. The World Health Organisation estimates this number at 2.16 lakh, compared to estimated suicides in China as 1.36 lakh in 2016. There are many reasons for this, ranging from a lack of political will, human resources, policy planning, budgetary constraints, widespread stigma, and suicide literacy. India continues to have the most number of suicides globally.
Suicide is the most preventable form of death, as a community we can play an important role in suicide prevention by learning the verbal, non-verbal or written signs.
“I have now gotten trained as a QPR Gatekeeper. This has taught me to pick up the signs of suicide and follow the simple steps needed to help save their lives.”
Suicide is rarely a result of a single cause. Suicide most often occurs when multiple life stressors, such as personal, political, social, economic, existential, environmental, biological factors co-exist to create feelings of hopelessness. It is difficult to predict the exact cause of suicide, however, one can save lives by learning about risk factors and warning signs of suicide.
Increased awareness about warning signs of suicidal behaviour is the first step towards reducing the stigma surrounding suicide, as well as shifting the blame away from the individual can help in preventing suicide.
If the person talks about:
If their behaviour signals:
While there are many factors that influence a person’s chance of developing suicidal ideations, and there are also many factors that offer a safety net to protect them from suicide. These are called Protective Factors – personal and environmental characteristics that reduce the risk of suicide. Some of them are a result of the environment, or come naturally to the individual while some can be cultivated regardless of age, sex, gender and cultural diversity.
Suicide Prevention seeks to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors. Reducing risk factors may not always be easy as some are a result of deeper cultural, societal and systemic issues. Hence, it is vital that we work towards fostering protective factors that act as a barrier against suicide.