This mental health day learn how to address rising suicidal deaths in India.
Photo Credit: MNN
India accounts for 28% of global suicides but nearly 50 percent of this population is neither aware about mental health issues nor has access to a mental health facility within a 20km radius, as per an independent study conducted across seven north Indian states.
About 43% of the respondents had a family member or friend with mental illness. While 48% had a person with a known addiction in their family or among friends, 59% had no de-addiction service near their house, posing a challenge to access treatment, the survey shows.
"The lack of facilities or access to care raises practical issues for care-givers facilitating treatment for persons with mental illnesses who feel there is a disconnect between the ground reality and government policies," says Dr Sunil Mittal, senior psychiatrist & director of World Federation of Mental Health.
of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS) and WFMH, covered 10,233 individuals in urban and rural areas across 175 districts of various states.
According to the National Mental Health Survey
(2016), lifetime prevalence of mental illness in India is estimated at 13.7% with over 150 million patients in need of active intervention.
What is suicide and suicidal behavior?
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of approximately 47,000 Americans each year.
Suicidal behavior is a kind of behaviour in which an individual starts talking about or taking steps related to terminating one’s own life. These thoughts when arises in someone's mind should be considered a psychiatric emergency.
Warning signs of suicidal behaviour:-
Someone feeling hopeless, purposeless, or alone
saying they have no reason to go on living
searching for different ways of doing personal harm, such as buying a gun, arranging poison, etc.
Excess sleep or too little sleep
eating too little or eating too much, resulting in significant weight gain or loss
Reckless behaviors, including excessive alcohol drug consumption or any other addiction.
avoiding social life and preferring to be alone
expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
Exhibiting signs of extreme anxiousness or agitation
dramatic mood swings
It can feel scary, but taking action and getting someone the help they need may help prevent a suicide attempt or death.
How to talk to someone who is feeling suicidal
If you suspect that someone in your vicinity may be considering suicide, talk to them about your concerns. You can begin the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
Talk openly and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about suicide?”
During the conversation, make sure you:
stay calm, appreciable of opposite views and speak in a reassuring tone
acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
offer unconditional support ,encouragement and try to develop positive vibes.
tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment
Make sure not to minimize their problems or attempts at shaming them into changing their mind. Listening and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Offer to help them find a healthcare provider, make a phone call, or go with them to their first appointment.
It can be frightening when someone you care about shows suicidal signs. But it’s critical to take action if you’re in a position to help. Starting a conversation to try to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
If you’re concerned and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline.
What increases the risk of suicide?
There can be multiple factors that increase the risk of suicide, such as having a mental health disorder, or anything else
Depression is the topmost risk factor, but others include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders.
Aside from mental health conditions, other factors that increase the risk of suicide include:
poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV and thinking I might die early.
being socially isolated or a victim of bullying or harassment
substance use disorder
childhood abuse or trauma
family history of suicide
previous suicide attempts
having a chronic disease
social loss, such as the loss of a significant relationship
loss of a job
access to lethal means, including firearms and drugs
difficulty seeking help or support
lack of access to mental health or substance use treatment
following belief systems that accept suicide as a solution to personal problems.
Treatment for people who are at risk for suicide
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of someone’s suicidal thoughts and behavior. In many cases, though, treatment consists of talk therapy and medication.
Communication or talk therapy , also known as psychotherapy, is one treatment method for lowering your risk of attempting suicide. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that’s often used for people who are having thoughts of suicide.
Its purpose is to teach you how to cope up with stressful life events and emotions that may be the reasons to your suicidal thoughts and behavior. CBT can also help you replace negative beliefs with positive ones and regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life.
A similar technique, called dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), is also employed.
Medication may be prescribed to ease symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. Treating these symptoms can help reduce or eliminate suicidal thoughts.
One or more of the following types of medication could be prescribed:
In addition to talk therapy and medication, suicide risk can sometimes be reduced by simply adopting certain healthy habits. These include:
Avoiding alcohol and drugs. Staying away from alcohol and drugs is critical, as these substances can lower inhibitions and may increase the risk for suicide.
Exercising regularly. Exercising at least three times per week, especially outdoors and in moderate sunlight, can also help. Physical activity stimulates the production of certain brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Sleeping well. It’s also important to get enough quality sleep. Poor sleep can make many mental health symptoms much worse. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having trouble sleeping
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