Attempting suicide has emerged as a huge problem faced by society. People who have survived suicide attempts are stigmatized and labelled as losers. But psychiatrists say that instead of demoralizing suicide survivors, they should be presented as survival examples just like cricket icon Yuvraj Singh who survived after battling cancer and he makes people aware about cancer. This can bring about a difference.
This way, awareness can be spread and suicides can be prevented. Doctors say that this mental illness issue is prevalent in educated class and people commit suicide in such families. What is lacking is that family members don’t recognize or identify risk behaviour pointing to potential suicide.
Doctors say that suicides can be prevented. Hopelessness is the best indicator for suicide. The person who is likely to commit suicide feels that he or she cannot be cured. Basically, cognitive distortion becomes so high that it drastically changes the thinking of the person. He thinks that everything surrounding him is not good. A feeling of hopelessness becomes dominant and he attempts suicide.
Dr Jawahar Singh, Department of Psychiatry, Delhi-AIIMS, told DTMT that suicides are one of the biggest emerging public health issues. It is not discussed widely in public. Any suicide by a doctor or any individual is highlighted in the media but after that nobody talks about it.
“Workload, burnout, harassment, depression are some of the issues that contribute to suicides by young doctors. Firstly, there is a need to admit that depression is there and that it has a solution. The problem is that depression is stigmatized. There should not be a feeling that people will stigmatize that he or she is affected with suicide ideation and people will be labelled,” said Dr Singh.
“One should understand that depression and suicide ideation is an illness and it is treatable. Counselling definitely helps to treat it but media should present people who have survived after suicides. They should be presented as people have been saved and are getting treatment and living a happy life. Just like Yuvraj Singh is presented in the media as a cancer survivor,” added Dr Singh.
This motivates people. Family members, neighbors and community can play important roles in preventing suicides. They should note that the person is affected with depression. Such people should not be isolated or ignored. Family members are crucial to prevent suicides because it takes up to two weeks for suicide to materialise. Two weeks is understood as syndromal depression.
Dr Singh said that there is a myth in society that the person affected with suicide ideation is mentally weak and lacks willpower or is termed as emotionally weak. This is not a disease. In fact, one should find out what is the reason of suicide ideation. Is there any financial loss, family problems or interpersonal cause and substance use?
If he is suffering from depression, then corrective measures should be taken. Suicide's symptoms include depressed mood in every domain of life, easy loss of energy and easy fatigue, cognitive triad (hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness), sleep disturbance and weight loss.
A person can be saved from committing suicide in the period when these risk factors and suicide ideation begins.
Quality of life is impacted due to depression.
Dr Singh said that ultimately, society is crucial to save people from suicide. People should understand that like fever or cough even suicidal tendency is a disease. It can be treated. Education on mental illness should be taught at primary education level.