World Suicide Prevention Day

Creating hope Through Action

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year on the 10th of September. It aims to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented, reduce stigma, and enhance understanding. This year’s observation focuses on “Creating Hope Through Action“. Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death. An estimate suggests that more than seven lakh people take their life yearly. That is one in every 100 deaths or a death every 40 seconds. WHO report indicates that Suicide rates fell in the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36%. However, it has increased by 17% in the US. Considerable efforts are to be taken by societies to meet the SDG target of a one-third reduction in the global suicide rate by 2030. People who take their own lives are diverse and present challenges for suicide prevention experts. Individuals who have survived a suicide can contribute to preventing the events that have driven them to suicide. 

The world has seen great minds. Brilliance in understanding far-off galaxies, landing on the moon, trying to travel to mars and make it habitable, what not! Despite all our abilities, why are we failing to understand ourselves? Outside noise dictates one life. The spread of social media is making things further difficult. Families are becoming nuclear, and people are migrating to far-off places seeking employment, making life’s journey difficult. Becoming lonely is no longer an option; not being ready or unable to communicate is throwing up the challenge. As creation is not in your hands, so must be the choice to end and that too unnaturally. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend, or colleague. For each suicide, innumerable family members and friends suffer intense grief and are affected. Empathy, compassion, and a desire to help are vital to preventing a tragedy.

We cannot, and must not, ignore suicide. Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide   ̶   job loss, financial stress, and social isolation – still very much present. The new guidance that WHO is releasing today provides a clear path for stepping up suicide prevention efforts.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year on the 10th of September and is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, co-sponsored by WHO and established in 2003. It aims to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented, reduce stigma, and enhance understanding. This year’s observation focuses on “Creating Hope Through Action“. 

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death. An estimate suggests that more than seven lakh people take their life yearly. That is one in every 100 deaths or a death every 40 seconds. There are more people making suicide attempts. WHO report indicates that Suicide rates fell in the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36%. However, it has increased by 17% in the US. Considerable efforts are to be taken by societies to meet the SDG target of a one-third reduction in the global suicide rate by 2030.

Among young people (aged 15-29), suicide is the fourth leading cause of death. More than twice as many males die due to suicide as females. Higher-income countries have higher suicide rates among men. For females, the highest suicide rates are in lower-middle-income countries. Suicide levels are highest among the retired, unemployed, divorced, childless, empty nesters, and those who live alone.

Eastern Europe and East Asia have the highest suicide rate worldwide and the lowest in the Caribbean. In atheist states, such as China, the suicide rate is high. In India, more than 1.6 lakhs suicide cases were reported in 2021, a 7.2% increase compared to 2020. Most suicides were reported in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Karnataka. These five states account for more than 50% of the suicides reported in the country. When it comes to suicide rates, the highest rates are reported in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sikkim and Chhattisgarh and the lowest in Bihar.    

WHO has provided comprehensive guidance for implementing its LIVE LIFE approach to suicide prevention. Limiting access to the means of suicide; fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and early identification and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Suicide contagion is a severe problem. The media needs to play a responsible role,  especially when reporting the case of celebrities. Under-reporting and misclassification are likely more significant problems while reporting suicide. The recent amendment by the lawmakers in India has given great relief for the survivor of suicide attempts, making it not an offence, sparing them from legal tangles.   

It is essential to learn about the warning signs of suicide. It can be hard to know when someone may be thinking about suicide. People who take their own lives are diverse and present challenges for suicide prevention experts. Some include uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting recklessly, engaging in risky activities, increased alcohol or drug use, and withdrawal. Depression and mental health issues can lead to suicidal tendencies. Individuals who have survived a suicide can contribute to preventing the events that have driven them to suicide. 

In India, many NGOs are contributing to the cause of prevention of suicide. SNEHA foundation, Roshni helpline (Hyderabad-based suicide intervention Centre) and Suicide Prevention India Foundation (SPIF) are some of them. The approach to be adopted is for Advocacy, Action, and Research.

The world has seen great minds. Brilliance in understanding far-off galaxies, landing on the moon, trying to travel to mars and make it habitable, what not! Despite all our abilities, why are we failing to understand ourselves? Outside noise dictates one life. The spread of social media is making things further difficult. Families are becoming nuclear, and people are migrating to far-off places seeking employment, making life’s journey difficult. Becoming lonely is no longer an option; not being ready or unable to communicate is throwing up the challenge. The choices we make and come together work for the well-being of humanity. The need to establish mechanisms for ensuring good mental health. There is a need to promote a healthy brain. The brain controls the health of the human being. The mind referred to as Chitta, Manas and Vijnana, is not so easy to manage.

Yogena Cittasya Padena Vaacaam |
By the Yoga of mind and consciousness, purifying the impurities of the mind 
(by removing the Chitta Vrittis) by Yoga

Sage Patanjali

As creation is not in your hands, so must be the choice to end and that too unnaturally. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend, or colleague. For each suicide, innumerable family members and friends suffer intense grief and are affected. Empathy, compassion, and a desire to help are vital to preventing a tragedy.

We can contribute to supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis, creating hope through Action and being the light.

Take a Minute and join the campaign for Changing a Life.

Toons: Reema 

Logs: Sai Baba

ToonLogs

Note: some of the data indicated or taken from WHO and Wikipedia.

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