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By: Er. Ishfaq Khaliq

Suicide is when a person harms self intending to end life, and die as a result of the action. Suicide is gender neutral and age neutral also and it has been seen that people of all ages and ethnicities can be at risk of this self-destructive tendency. Suicidal behavior is complex, there is no single cause as people die by suicide for several reasons. A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. However, the majority of people who take their lives (estimated at 90 per cent) suffer from an underlying mental illness and/ or substance abuse problem at the time of attempting suicide.

No matter what the race or age of the person be, how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental illness, emotional disorder and/or chemical dependency. The most common underlying cause is depression as an estimated 60 per cent of suicides are by people suffering from depression.

However, it is very important to remember that the vast majority of people living with depression do not attempt to die but rather want their helplessness be noticed and their sufferings be heard. Most people who attempt suicide are not 100% certain of dying—they just want their pain and suffering to end.

The important thing is that, while this is a growing issue and needs medical attention, we all can still help in whatever small or big way. If one notices such a behavior in any person, the first thing is to keep the person company and never leave him/her alone until medical help can reach. One can secretly call local emergency number right away or, if situation permits, one can take the person to the nearest hospital’s emergency room.

One must try finding out if the person is under the influence of any drugs or alcohol and whenever possible communicate with the family members of that person. If a friend or loved one talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe he/she might be potentially attempting suicide, don’t try to handle the situation alone and once you are sure of the warning signs try to engage the person until professional help reaches.

It is not always easy to find out the warning signs that are to be read correctly as one can’t always tell when a loved one or a friend is considering suicide. But some common signs include-Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as ‘I’m going to kill myself,’ ‘I wish I were dead’ or ‘I wish I hadn’t been born’, etc. Getting the means such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills, withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone, having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next, being preoccupied with death, dying or violence, feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, changing normal routine including eating or sleeping patterns, doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly, giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other logical explanation for doing this, saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again, developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated etc.

Young people, particularly in the age group of18-20 are more addicted to drugs in Kashmir as per research data. 287 suicide cases were registered in Jammu and Kashmir, including 157 males and 130 females. Srinagar district alone recorded a 200 per cent increase in the number of suicide cases as 6 cases were reported in 2020 as against 2 in 2019. In a conflict zone like Kashmir, suicides are common because of multiple reasons- says a survey conducted here. The survey found out that “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common reason for suicides in a conflict zone, then comes domestic violence and other factors”. At present, suicides among women have been observed to be more than among men. It is said that the sudden surge in suicides is largely associated with the financial crisis triggered by a loss of livelihoods caused by the curfews and lockdowns, apart from the financial crisis and growing drug abuse that has escalated the trend.

Today, more people suffer from depression as compared to the past and we know that people who needed personal consultations with psychiatrists had to resort to virtual consultations due to Covid19 and this added to the stress levels, leading to a rise in suicides.


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