Self-harming behaviors in general and suicidality in particular is a serious public health problem that can have long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. Suicide is defined as intentionally taking one’s own life and comes from the Latin “suicidium”, which literally means “to kill oneself.” Every year 703000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide.
? Nearly 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year.
? Every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide somewhere on the globe.
? India reported about 381 suicides daily for the year of 2019, marking an increase of nearly 3.4% suicide deaths as compared to 2018.
It is very important for us to identify the risk factors of self-harming or suicidality so that a precious life can be saved. By recognising the risk factors early intervention can be done.
• History of such behavior in past or family
• Self-injury (“cutting”)
• Psychiatric illness
• Feelings of being worthless, helpless, and hopeless
• Victim of abuse
• Family conflict and poor relationship with parents
• Either being a bully or having been bullied
• Conflict with friends and loss of important relationships
Most of the patients who are at risk for committing suicide will provide verbal, non-verbal signs which points towards their extreme distress and their ideation about attempting suicide. These signs can be statements, actions, feelings, and appearances Which includes..
• Direct verbal threats (“I am going to kill myself.”)
• Indirect verbal threats ( “You won't have me to worry about any more.”)
• Sudden/ Abnormal change in mood (i.e., the youth who was very sad and who becomes very happy)
• Anxiety and agitation, reckless behavior, anger,
• Increased alcohol or drug use
• Giving away of prized possessions
• Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities
• Refusal of help or belief that there is no help for them
• Expression of death or suicide themes in writings, in art, or via social media
• Disturbed sleep, decline in appearance and hygiene
• Decline in academic performance.
Such behaviors not only devastate the surviving family members and friends but set a wrong precedent in the society. One good news is that such behaviors are preventable and we as a family/ society/professionals can play a vital role to prevent suicide and save our loved ones.
? Improve the skills of team members in identifying high risk clients and in planning for treatment and care.
? Never allow high risk cases to be alone.
? Identify the stressor , assess the family and the client.
? Modify the environment.
? Guidance for high risk cases.
? Conduct a crisis intervention program.
? Refer high risk cases for professional help.
? Establishment of counselling centers
? Improve the ability and quality of Help.
? Guidance and counselling centers for suicide attempters.
? Arrange supportive care for high risk groups.
? Provide treatment
? Interaction with family and friends of a person who displays such tendencies.
? Minimizing the residual effects of such an attempt.
? Follow up and continuity of care as to be planned.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FAMILY.
? Parents should be proactive and directly address the factors that increase the risk of self-harm
? Promote mental health in your family.
? Address your own emotional challenges and ensure that your child gets the mental health support he or she needs.
? Maintain a positive relationship with your child.
? Help your children verbalize the challenges
? they are facing and identify healthy ways to cope.
? Help your child for healthy peer groups and Strong social support.
? Teachers should be aware of the fact if any child is at suicidal risk.
? Seek for professional help if you feel your child is at risk.
Intervention at community level..
• Increasing public awareness
• Campaign to reduce stigma
• Regulating formulations, packaging and sale of harmful and life taking substances.
• Regulation of over-the-counter medication.
Role of Media.
? Report Responsibly.
? Avoid sensationalizing / romanticizing suicide, which can have a profound effect on at risk teens.
? Refrain from detailed descriptions of the method of life harm
? Do not portray such behaviors as an inexplicable act.
? Be aware of the implications of language.
? Do not let the glamour of celebrity self-harming behaviors and suicidality obscure the reality of the act.
We need to understand Stress and Strain is part of life and has been there since human existence. Stress prepares you to fight with adversities and negative events and find new pathways to move ahead in life. However some people may under stressful situations develop psychological / physical symptoms like palpitations, sadness of mood, decreased interest in pleasurable acts, hopelessness, helplessness, apprehensions etc which significantly impact one's day to day routine life activities. Many people suffering from these symptoms cope up successfully and bounce but some may go on to have a psychiatric disorder. If we acknowledge and perceive these symptoms early, they can be easily managed adopting by following lifestyle and remedial measures (A, B, C…………………etc:
1. Adequate Sleep: 7-9 hours of daily Sleep and follow proper sleep pattern.
2. Balanced Diet: More Vegetables, Fruits, Fluids AND Less of Carbohydrates, Fats/oils, salt etc
3. Connect with friends, family, neighbors etc
4. Devote some time from your schedule to social causes, Almighty and say no to Drugs of Addictions.
5. Exercise: 30-40 minutes daily exercise is good to stay physically and mentally fit.
6. Find Help: In case you are not able to manage your stress by above means, don’t hesitate to contact Counselors, Psychologists, Doctors, Psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals.
7. Goals: Set goals which are rational and one can achieve. Everyone has a unique capability to do and achieve. Live your own life rather than following someone exclusively.
8. Hobby: Get back to old hobbies and try new ones
9. Introspection: Life is God's gift. Use mindfulness techniques to ponder upon the creature's blessings and just a few mistakes or failure of yours doesn’t make us and our life meaningless.
Last but not the least we need to understand and remember that there is a solution to every problem in this world.