According to ‘The Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2016’, suicide is the most common cause of death among Indians between the age groups of 15 and 39 years. To prevent such an alarming number of suicides, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10th September every year since 2003. This day has been dedicated to creating awareness of suicide, understanding the causes and signs of suicidal tendencies, as well as methods of prevention and providing support to people exhibiting these symptoms.
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.
Primary causes of suicide
Just like each year, World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 is significant because it helps spread awareness about the primary causes that can lead up to suicide. According to Dr. Alex Lickerman, the former Director of Primary Care at the University of Chicago, USA, there are five primary causes of suicide.
- Depression is usually considered the leading cause of suicide and World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 also focuses on making support available to people suffering from depression.
- Psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia which trigger fearful delusions and hallucinations are also one of the primary causes of suicide.
- Impulsiveness that may result from substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) has also been deemed to be one of the primary causes as most people who have failed to take their own lives have regretted it when sober.
- People suffering from incurable terminal illnesses often seek death as a final escape from their suffering and World Suicide Prevention Day also aims to spread awareness regarding the demerits of this.
- Financial troubles including unemployment and business loss have also led to some people committing suicide out of utter hopelessness and despair.
Signs of suicidal behaviour
There are many early warning signs displayed by people with suicidal tendencies. World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 seeks to educate people so that they can identify these indicators at the earliest-
- Verbally expressing a desire to end one’s life.
- Expressing feelings of deep despair and hopelessness.
- Talking about being a burden on friends and family.
- Displaying extreme anxiousness, agitation and recklessness.
- Unusually extreme isolation and social withdrawal.
- Uncharacteristic mood swings and acute moments of rage.
- A sudden increase in consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Despite the high prevalence of suicide, they can be prevented with the right level of intervention done at the right time. Understanding the several warning signs and not ignoring them can potentially help save a life.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having regular contact with a primary healthcare provider can help prevent suicide.
However, if thoughts of suicide have crossed your mind, then-
- Call the emergency helpline number immediately, help will soon be on the way
- Reach out to a family member or friend
- Enrol yourself for therapy/counselling and consult a psychiatrist
- If you have been diagnosed with mood disorders or any psychological illnesses, then you will need psychiatric treatment and medication. Remember to take your medicines on time and attend your therapy sessions.
- It is better for suicidal people to not live alone.
Therefore, the significance of World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 lies in continued support as well as recognition of suicide as a potent public health problem. Suicide can only be prevented by increased awareness about mental health as well as by the cooperation of friends and family members. It is important to understand that any person exhibiting the warning signs of suicide, talking or thinking of self-harm should not be taken lightly, consult a psychiatrist and let him/her understand and evaluate the condition. Act at the earliest to prevent a mishap. Every life is precious, let’s be the source of hope, happiness and support to someone in need.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.