World Suicide Prevention Day: Take warning signs seriously to save lives
There is just a thin line between hope and despair. But the way those walking on it are choosing death over life, is enough to trigger widespread alarm. Every 40 seconds, someone in this world ends his/her life while every third second, one person is attempting suicide, says the latest report of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In India, one person commits suicide every 15 minutes. Out of three cases of suicide reported in India, one is committed by a youth in the age group of 15 to 29, according to the 2014 study report of the WHO. The report said suicide was the third leading cause of death among young adults worldwide and India ranked 43rd in descending order of rate of suicide.
The rate of suicide, especially among the young population between 10 and 19 years, has increa` sed. This age group is at the highest risk and therefore more attention and specific suicide prevention strategies are the need of the hour.
“Youth who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their distress. Parents, teachers, and friends are in a position to pick up these signals and help. The most important thing is to never take these warning signs lightly,” says Manju Aggrawal, professor of psychology at Amity University, Lucknow.
“When all adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority and empowered to take the correct actions, we can help youth before they engage in behaviour with irreversible consequences,” she added.
People with suicidal tendencies usually give warning signs, like sense of worthlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. They often talk about committing suicide and are socially withdrawn - not taking interest in the world around them, showing depressive symptoms and severe mood swings and suffering from sleep disturbances. Such people also lose weight and appetite, have diminishing ability to think and suffer from indecisiveness.
WHAT TO DO?
The professor said youths with suicidal tendency were not likely to seek help directly. However, parents, school personnel and peers could recognise the warning signs and take immediate action to keep such people safe.
“When a person shows signs of contemplating , people around him/her should not panic. They must listen to the person carefully. Such people should not be left alone and reassured that help is available and they will not feel like this forever. And if the suicidal tendency is very high, then a psychiatrist’s help must be sought,” suggested Aggrawal.
According to her, schools can play a major role in suicide prevention. Each school must have a counsellor and all children should be counselled at least once a month wherein they get a non judgemental environment to talk about themselves freely.
Schools must inculcate positive life orientation in children and develop purpose of life in them. Besides, students must be involved in community service programmes.