Suicide, the action of deliberately taking one’s own life attributable to certain compelling and baneful circumstances is on an alarming rise all over the world. It is a self inflicted death and can be defined as choosing the mode, time, situation for ending one’s own life. The word suicide has a very negative implication and is looked upon unfavorably in all human societies. An inability to see solutions to the accosting problems or to cope up with challenging life circumstances may lead people to take their life, as the only solution. Suicidal tendency has most frequently been found among people aged 45 to 54 and women are more likely than men vulnerable to attempt suicide. Suicide is one of the widely talked about subject in this day and age of modernization and materialistic outlook. A level of brain chemical transmitter called serotonin is thought to be the possible predictor of suicide. Throughout the years, the rate of suicide has continued to increase concomitant to a host of reasons around the world; although it may have many causes that remain obscure and are difficult to know as to what the exact source is, the most established causes of suicide account for untreated depression, personal life problems, financial problems, career problems etcetera. About 55% suicide cases occur between the age of 15 and 44 years.
Suicidal rates differ among various races; they appear to be increasing in native population like Native America in US and Alaska. In Muslim countries like Kuwait, where committing suicide is strictly forbidden, the total suicide rate is close to zero. Suicide claims the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year. In India during the year 2016 the number of suicides had increased to 230, 314. Suicide was the most common cause of death in the age group of 15 to 39 years where as in 2019-20 3.4% of spike was witnessed in teenage suicides. According to NCRB data. Approximately 800,000 people die every year worldwide due to suicide of which 17% are Indians. Suicide is not strictly prominent for just one type of person, it is a serious issue among all races, gender, ages, religions etc. There are many factors that play a role in influencing whether someone decides to commit suicide. Almost everyone experiences suicidal thoughts at one point or the other throughout their existence. Everyone deals with tough times, but some people have been dealt a tougher hand when it comes to life circumstances, mental/physical illness, social standing etcetera. Common causes of suicide worldwide are linked with mental illness like (anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia), traumatic experience like (being victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, dealt with trauma etc), bullying in some cases bullying goes completely unrecognized until the victim can’t take it anymore, and sees suicide as the only escape to pain, cyber bullying in which people fall victims to being bullied online, drug addiction/substance abuse, eating disorders, unemployment, social isolation/loneliness, relationship problems, family history, existential crises, chronic pain, financial problems and many more.
Problems are rarely as great as they appear at first. All stressful events that seem devastating at the time they are happening, than month or even years later, they usually look smaller and manageable later. Sometimes imagining ourselves few years back can help to see that a problem passes and we survive. A great deal of all the distress that we experience in life is fed by the ways we talk to ourselves in our own minds; it’s not like people’s problems aren’t real, they certainly are but life is filled with unhappy, distressing, traumatic events that happen to us as well as many failures to get good things that we desire, that’s life. One with suicidal ideation must understand that problems are not permanent and one must reach out to his/her family, friends, or healthcare professionals for help, moreover one must avoid alcohol or other drugs that can increase impulsive actions and suicidal thoughts. Protective factors for suicide may include support and access to therapy. About 60% of people with suicidal thoughts do not seek help. Reasons for not doing so include low perceived need, and wanting to deal with problems alone, efforts to increase social connection, especially in elderly males may be effective. Suicide needs to be recognized as a societal problem more than a health issue and we should all be involved at one or the other stage in ameliorating its incidence in the society. Realizing that someone needs help is the first step to saving their life. If we see certain signs, it’s important to find out what they really mean to prevent another victim of suicide. People in suicidal state do not act in their own best interest, they are turned against themselves and listening to all the negative things inside them. Thus it’s our job to reach out to those people and give them a hand and make them feel like they are important. It is important to assess those individuals that may display any warning sign in a cautious manner so that they don’t feel as though suicide is their only escape from reality.
SIMRA QAZI is a student Psychology, Women’s College, M A Road, Srinagar