We lose 1 Indian to suicide every 3 minutes
With 450 suicides per day or 164000 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.
8 out of 10 suicidal people show warning signs
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.
Anyone can prevent suicide by picking up these warning signs and offering support
“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 Preventable
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, not 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.
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.
Mood/ Conduct/ Personality Disorder, and/ or other Illness that may/not be diagnosed or untreated
Social & Cultural
Isolation, Socio-Economic Status, Stigma and Discrimination - Gender, Sexuality, Caste
Access to lethal means, Pandemic, Neglect, Abuse, Trauma - personal or societal
Substance Abuse, Lack of Sleep, Unhealthy body image issues
Traumatic Brain Injury, Debilitating Pain/ Disease Monoamines levels
Traumatic change in relationships, Sudden distressing events
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:
Wanting to die or kill themself
Experiencing unbearable pain
They may refer to it indirectly and say things like:
“If _____ does/ not happen, I’ll kill myself.”
“I’m tired of life, I just can’t go on.”
“My family would be better off without me.”
“I won’t be around much longer.”
“Pretty soon you won’t have to worry about me.”
If their behaviour signals:
Past suicide attempt
Drug/ alcohol abuse, or relapse after a period of recover
Sleeping too much or too little
Isolating from friends and family
Stockpiling pills/ poison
Co-occurring depression, mood disorder
Unexplained anger, aggression and irritability
Putting personal affairs in order
Giving away prized possessions
Sudden interest or disinterest in religion
If they show:
Sudden mood swings
Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness and perceived burdensomeness
Feelings of shame/ humiliation, guilt
Feeling trapped/ thwarted
Unexplained anger, aggression, irritability or relief
Stress, anxiety and restlessness
Loss of interest
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.
Social connectedness to friends and family
Life skills such as emotional resilience
Self-esteem and a sense of purpose/ meaning in life
Cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide
Access to mental health services
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.