Suicide! How to choose life over death

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By:  Muzamil Manzoor and Vakeel Ahmad

Life is precious, purposeful and meaningful. Every individual has dreams, aims and goals to work upon and to achieve them. But if an individual fails to do so, he/she thinks otherwise, this leads to anxiety and depression. If it remains continue, it results in suicide.

Suicide is taking of one’s own life. It is a death that happens when someone harm themselves because they want to end their miseries. It is a major public health problem which doesn’t discriminate. It can involve anyone, anywhere and at any time. It has became the second leading cause of death among young people aged between 15-29 years after road injuries or accidents. According to WHO reporton Mental Health 2019, nearly eight lakh people  die by suicide every year, which is – one person every forty seconds. India alone accounts for approximately thirty percent  of the world’s deaths resulting from suicide. What’s so sad- is that this loss of life is preventable. Suicidal crises pass with the passage of time and treatment is available that can reduce suicidal thoughts and behavior.

This piece of writing will discuss about the nature of suicides, our responsibilities and its control.Suicide is not a testimony of a person’s strength or courage. It is a verdict of our sensitivity to see it coming. It is a cry for help that results in a tragedy. If a student fails in examination, no one would come to console him/her, on contrary to that if he qualifies the examination everyone greets and encourages him. We believe that success and failure are the part of our lives, success gives you  happiness while failure provides you the experience to improve in future. There should be much support at the time of failure, loss and crises. An individual can celebrate his success alonebut it is hard to handle failures, miseries and problems, this paves the way for depression- which is the first stage towards suicide and is possibly the commonest major illness and is most likely underlying cause of suicidal ideation. Sometimes life doesn’t work the way we imagine, there will be the time when we may not be in a mental condition to make the best decision for ourselves, that time we need to reach out to those who can help us to rethink and reconsider, there is always an another option.

Major reasons behind suicide

Exam pressure, unemployment, parental expectations, bullying, sense of inadequacy, feeling of being involved, broken heart, insecurities, failure in examination or job, financial constraints, rejection from a friend and prolong physical illness. These are the factors which give rise to feelings of an individual contemplating suicide, it includes Hopelessness, Helplessness and Worthlessness.

Hopelessness is a symptom found with depression and when this remains untreated, it becomes one of the major cause of suicide. In this process an individual is not able to successfully come out of his struggle.

Helplessness is associated with emotions of intimidation, feeling trapped and an inability to cope. Suicidal thoughts are especially experienced when someone cannot cope with a loss, loosing someone or something that one was extremely attached to.

Worthlessness is a feeling of incapacity. In this stage an individual may feel worthless by loosing the significance of life. In this stage people question their abilities. It includes loosing a job or financial crises.

Spot the warning signs of suicide

Some of the signs to look out for are, withdrawal from friends and family and social activities, clinical depression, fleeing frequently without informing anyone, change in sleep and appetite patterns, change in weight, long lasting sadness, using more alcohol or drugs, feels being burden to others, focusing more on death than life, speaking about his absence in future, low self-image, negative self-talk, and acting anxious, agitated or reckless.

How can we help

We need to speak about it, don’t leave such a person alone, give them a listening ear and caring shoulder, listen to them and allow them to express their emotions which could include crying, yelling or verbal abuse, build a confidence level so that such a person could feel relaxed while expressing their heavy heart, make the individualto feelthat they matter and are not alone and help them to connect to resources such as psychiatrist or suicide help lines.

Government responsibilities

There should be mental health workshops and programs to spread awareness among teachers, parents/guardians, enough literature should be available related to mental health in academic as well as public libraries, ‘guidance and counseling’  subject should be incorporated in academics, need to involve teachers, school authorities, primary health- care providers and legal system, there should be have ‘Gate-keeper’ trainers- it incorporates a team of mental health and other health professionals to focus on creating awareness among teachers, parents and others to identify the system of mental illness such as depression and other suicide related behavior. They act as the bridge between such individuals and professionals who can provide timely intervention, legislature can curb the access to lethal agents of suicide such as restrict the sale of pesticides and  set up help line numbers.

Tail piece

The highs of success and lows of failure coming under the glare of scrutiny- all this often leads to anxiety and depression, both the individual who himself is depressed or experience it in his vicinity can come out of this problem if preventive  measures are to be taken on time. We need to speak about it. It’s time to get out of our shells and talk about the suicidal thoughts and get help. We need to know how to celebrate life over death and we should be well informed about depression and suicide.

In a common notion we believe that it is only ‘mad’ people who visit psychiatrist or seek help for mental illness. There is a stigma related to mental illness, people want to share their views especially related to suicidal tendencies but there  is no one ready to listen. This is the basic reason we don’t seek help for it. Most of those who attempt suicide, do not actually want to die, they simply want to escape their present circumstances and miseries. Remember, there is darkness, sorrow, loss and grief when an individual  choose to end a cherished life. So, it is better to choose life over death.

– Muzamil Manzoor is an independent researcher; Vakeel Ahmad is pursuing bachelors degree at Government Degree College Tral. Authors can be reached at [email protected]

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