Today is the World Suicide Prevention Day. It has become a global problem now, more than anyone ever could have imagined it to become. It has even crossed the rate of deaths that happen due to road accidents. I want to say that first of all, people must remove the association of the act of suicide with cowardice and bravery or anything other. Can you not stop judging and comparing the pain of the person who had a lot already to deal with, at least now that he or she is gone? Just stop it. According to the World Health Organisation, a person dies by committing suicide In every 40 seconds.
Certainly, there are problems but suicide is not the problem. It is the consequence that many problems led to. Stop judging and understand this. Start with the correct mindset of ‘how can we ensure that this consequence is not an option to the problems as presented in front of the troubled individual?”
‘Suicide is never the solution’ is an incomplete statement. There needs to be a discussion and one must then, come to a resolution about what is. Stop talking about the disadvantages of suicide. At least, stop shaming the troubled now.
Stop associating adjectives to the act. Start promoting the solutions to the problems. Hearing ‘I know that you can handle it alone because you are so strong’ when a person shares her problems with you is not only irritating but disheartening too and this pushes the person closer to the act of suicide. Stop victim blaming and victim shaming. In fact, stop seeing people with problems as ‘warriors’ or ‘victims’. It burdens them further. Lend a helping hand instead.
Your ‘consolations’ do not work if your actions do not match them. Do not say that you are there for the other person when you can not be. This means that you are giving them false hopes and a person cannot sustain much longer on them. Also, please stop associating suicide as an act of redemption or which will take you to hell. Do not tell someone that if they commit suicide, their family will feel bad or that they will be responsible for the troubles of their family. This is also victim shaming and this comes from a place of judgement. A judgmentalthought or attitude has never helped anyone. Religious superstitions have already proved to be misleading and the ones who are snatching away the essence of humanity from within the human beings. If you are spiritual, you would restrain from being judgemental and will rather be compassionate and also will understand that the humans have manipulated all the original concepts and molded them to serve their selfish needs. Do not try to encourage suicidal people by giving examples of Gods and their stories. Virtue, wisdom or even courage are not to be talked about when discussing suicide. The cycle of life and death is eternal, inevitable and must be respected but do not use it against those who seek the solution to their pain through the act of suicide.
If you cannot be non-judgmental and know a person who may be feeling suicidal, direct them to a good mental health professional who has expertise in handling such cases. Do not start taking decisions or judging on your own. You do not know a lot of the facets of the issue. However, showing compassion will help the person.
Do not ask them to shut up.
Instead, encourage them to speak up.
Support them and help them in standing up.
They do not want to give up.
Nobody, since they were a child
Had a thought that they want to die.
In no normal circumstances, does a person take respite
Or seek solution in the form of suicide.
If you will let go of your judgement
Them an empathetic ear
So that they can share
Their experiences, pain and struggle
And whatever comes in their brain
Without feeling like they are inviting trouble
Or that their confession will lead to further shame,
They may understand that life can be better.
If you stop putting unnecessary burden
Of their family and the toxic society on the top of their own expectations.
Things may turn out to be in everyone’s favour.
What Is Suicide?
Suicide, as derived from the word ‘suicidium’ means to take one’s life. It was suggested by Sir Thomas Browne in his book. It is believed that the first attempt of suicide was around 434 BC with the wrong belief that taking one’s own life and disrupting the natural cycle of life and death will lead to the redemption of his soul. He saw death as a transformation.
It is believed that in April, May and June, the suicide rates rise. Switzerland is believed to provide the best mental health care to its citizens even in the future. There are professionals here and the health care is affordable. The health care facilities and providers serve their purpose of giving proper mental health care in a very good manner.
What are the symptoms of suicidal ideation?
These symptoms may overlap with the symptoms of the disorders of anxiety and depression. This is the thought process which is limited to the mind and not yet done physically. These symptoms are extremely hard to identify because the people who think similar hide their feelings and thoughts fron others and pretend that everything is ok because they do not want to hurt others or give them an opportunity to stop the act from happening.
- Thinking about or planning how to commit suicide
- Showing signs that death will give more happiness than life
- Even considering to commit suicide
- Feeling trapped
- Feeling hopeless
- Emotional pain may also be a symptom
- The mind is preoccupied with the thoughts of violence towards oneself
- Mood swings
- Feelings of guilt or shame may be involved
- Changes in the patterns of sleeping
- Substance abuse
- Regret towards being or staying alive
- Finding no purpose in doing things which one used to enjoy doing earlier
- Self criticism
- It may also be that there is no such reason but the person feels that she or he has experienced all the emotions and phases that one can in one’s life and now they want to see nothing more and want the journey to end
You may say that suicide is not the solution
But then, what is?
There needs to be a detailed discussion
On this particular topic.
Just refusing an alternative which is dangerous
Does not negate or make the problem
Vanish completely off of one’s shoulder,
Especially, if it is so heavy that it cannot be carried any longer.
This statement is not the end
Rather, it is the beginning
Of addressing the problem
Which is disturbing the individual from within.
There is more to it than a full stop
There are thoughts and ideas which follow.
Some of them are to be rejected and
some of them lead to the ones that need to be implemented.
If you cannot take the responsibility of another individual’s happiness,
Do not put yourself in a situation, through your judgement,
Where you add to their burden
Or you may trigger them to take any painful step.
If that will be, whenever you will realise,
Their pain may be passed on to you in the form of regret.
So, do not create such a situation in the first place.
Instead of passing judgement, learn to be compassionate.
Free Helpline Numbers Of The Organizations Working Towards Suicide Prevention
- Aasra—It is open 24×7 and its helpline number is 91-9820466726 and the website is http://www.aasra.info/about-us.htmlThis organization is based in Navi Mumbai and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgThey provide a listening ear and the people who are feeling suicidal may message them if they do not feel comfortable in calling them.
- Sneha — It is open 24×7 in normal circumstances and its helpline numbers are 91-9820466726 +919833052684. 044-2464000 is its suicideprevention number and the website is http://www.aasra.info/about-us.html This organization is based in Navi Mumbai and can be contacted at email@example.com They provide a listening ear and the people who are feeling suicidal may message them if they do not feel comfortable in calling them.
- Beyond Blue —On their site beyondblue.org.au, the organization presents all of the information regarding suicide, its symptoms, how to identify them and what can a person do in case they know a person who is suicidal. They even provide help in situations where a person has survived an attempt of suicide. They help those who have lost someone to suicide. They have conducted researches on the issue and have even initiated a campaign named #YouCanTalk and provide information on the warning signs.
This is a poem for any person who comes across people who have suicidal tendencies or suicidal ideation:
Please let them speak
Without giving any judgement.
Let me say whatever is coming on their mind
Because if they will hide them, it will lead to even more severe problems.
Do not shun them.
Do not shame them.
Do not blame them.
Do not hate them.
Do not sideline them.
Do not boycott them.
If you do these,
They will hate their existence
Which they do already
But now, their lips will be sealed.
After this, no matter how much you try
But they will not share the thoughts on their mind.
If you wouldnot know when
Then, how will you help them?
So, be compassionate but give them space.
Let them seek hope at their own pace.
What should you Not do if you know someone who is experiencing suicidal symptoms?
“Oh shut up, you will be fine” or “Do not say that ever again” does not let the problem go away. Also, different people experience suicidal tendencies in different manner and they project them or they are shown physically in a different manner as well. Usually, the people who are dealing with mental health issues appear to be fine, healthy, happy and ‘having it all together’ but it is essential to stop stereotyping that if one person is showing that she or he is happy, they really are. “You are so strong” is not needed when someone needs help and is having suicidal tendencies. Remove the irritating stereotypes which are barriers in the process of asking for help when needed. ‘Looking healthy’ is different from ‘being healthy’. As the symptoms suggest, each person’s suicidal ideation may be presented in different ways. Do not look away or shhh them when anyone says that they are suicidal. Suicide is not a sin but pushing someone by ignoring their cry of help, even when you can help, just because you are ignorant may certainly be one.
Being well-informed and not making a mockery of sensitive issues like suicide and mental health disorders by removing the portrayal of stereotypes by influencing personalities on famous channels and outlets is an extremely important step to be taken towards suicide prevention. Visiting a therapist must not be seen as ‘unnecessary’ or ‘a waste of money’ and people should stop saying that the ones seeking help from professionals for their mental health issues could have done this or that with that money.
What Can Be Done To Help People Who Are Experiencing Suicidal Symptoms?
Any time a person talks about suicide on an outlet where hundreds of audience is getting influenced by their words, a goodmental health professional shall be there to inform correctly about suicide or any other mental health issue.
In workplaces, schools, colleges or any other such institutions, a verified, compassionate, good mental health professional must be kept and the service they provide shall be taken care of at all times so that everyone can get easy access to their mental health issues. It may also help in stopping any issues from forming in the initial stages. Seeking therapy shall be normalised but not taken advantage of ever. Workplaces shall stop overburdening the employees with unrealistic expectations and tasks which are practically impossible to be fulfilled within the impossible conditions. Ragging, bullying or any such unhealthy behaviours must not be ignored but it must be taken care of that such instances are reported and resolved instead of asking the one being wronged to ‘learn to handle a joke’ or ‘loosen up’, ‘ease up’ or ‘ignore’ or ‘let go’. Employees must not be pressurised to work beyond the capacity of an average human and industries shall stop treating employees as machines or keeping the expectations of the work possible to be completed only by a machine to be completed by humans within the flash of seconds. Healthy workplace is effective in creating a healthy mental space.
Also, just like the emergency numbers of police and ambulance is made to be memorised in educational institutions and households, suicide prevention helplines shall be made to memorise as well. Important numbers shall be included in the telephone directories of all the states, countries or regions.
It is also very essential that it must be taken care of that the people who are the ones who receive the calls of suicide prevention helplines are non-judgmental and do not tell the young people or teenagers that they cannot have suicidal ideation or suicidal tendencies just because they are teenagers. Mental health issues are not divided according to age, gender or class or caste or any such categories. The staff of the mental health organizations which provide help must strictly be non-judgmental and if not, must not be kept as a staff even though they possess the adequate educational qualifications because if they do not have compassion and their judgement may push or encourage a person to take his or her life, their educational qualifications are of no use and they serve the opposite of what the organization aims at.
When a person calls in the hope of getting help, they do not want to hear another judgemental voice because they already may be sabotaging themselves. Any such insensitive staff must be removed from mental health institutions, if they are recruited.
Mobiles can also have an inbuilt software which provides instant mental health resolution and any call or contact regarding suicide must be treated as an emergency.
Start treating mental health as a priority and stop judging the people who have access to help from mental health professionals as someone who are ‘blessed’ or ‘privileged’. This is also a form of victim shaming.
Like the many conferences that are held globally to address the issues of environment, economy, national safety and much more, mental health must be added to it. Also, all countries should provide mental health insurance to individuals, mandatorily once they turn 18 years of age.
Here is a poem for anyone who is feeling suicidal, written in a hope that they may feel better :
You are beautiful.
You are needed.
You are not a burden
If you haven’t
Put anyone else in a situation
Where you committed a crime against the other.
This life is yours to live.
You are worthy even if you believe that you have nothing to give.
If someone took advantage of you
Or hurt you in other ways,
Start working on healing your issues
So that you can freely and easily move ahead.
Do not listen to your sabotaging voice.
Do not pay heed to the judgemental noise.
A good therapist should be involved
Because these are not the problems that your friends alone can resolve.
If you are experiencing suicidal symptoms, do not justify yourself or your thoughts to anyone because in such situations, chances are that nobody except a good professional will understand due to the lack of awareness and moreof misinformation and superstitions spread about mental health issues in the society that we currently live in. This is essential so that the ones who are experiencing such tendencies or thoughts know that they will be understood and will be able to open up, discuss and be free of the issues that are troubling in a faster and healthier manner. Even the mental health of those people who are wrongly accused and have to spend their lives behind the bars shall be provided mental health services.
Barriers In Seeking Happiness Or Mental Health Support
- Wrongly using spirituality and manipulating the words of the ancient spiritual texts to shame or blame the ones feeling suicidal
- Shaming or looking down upon or making those people feel uncomfortable who seek the help of mental health professionals or even try to do so
- Negating the negative or suicidal feelings as nit valid or ‘just a phase’
- Trying to manipulate how and from whom a person, especially a child, seeks mental health support, especially by a toxic, dominating, controlling or narcissistic parent
- Glorifying pain
- Making someone believe wrongly that they do not deserve to be happy
- Self- sabotage
- It may also be that the experiences in the life of the individual have been such that any happiness may have been followed by troubles, pain and grief or preceded by it and they are tired of dealing with it and want to break out of it but cannot find any escape so they see death as an escape
The idea of suicide may not come from a place of lack of self-love instead this desire may disguise itself as a way to pursue happiness which is lacking in the waking life of an individual.
Males And The Issue Of Suicide
As estimated in 2020, the top three countries which are the highest in their suicide rates in the world are Lithuania, Russia and Guyana. Mental health issues affect everyone, regardless of anything, equally. But particularly, the latest statistics show that the suicides committed by males have ratios around or over 50%. This is definitely a severe issue that needs to be addressed right now. Stereotypes and associating everything as masculine and feminine to encourage them are also adding to the problems. Anyone can access help for mental health issues from the professionals. It is not restricted within any boundaries except society. The patriarchal society is not working, clearly, and needs to end to let an egalitarian and healthy society take its place. It is burdening the men as much as women and all the other genders.
Barriers That Men Specifically Have To Deal With In The Process Of Trying To Seek Help For Mental Health Issues
- Asked to ‘man up’— Attaching seeking help as an act of cowardice while attacking the identity of the male
- Acting surprised when they admit to have a mental health problem or asking them to gulp them down to asking them to shut up or encouraging them to indulge in substance abuse
- Problems are not considered problems
- If they are pushed to suicide due to false allegations or being abused by a female or any other person of any gender and people see it as ‘enjoyment’ which makes them question if they should even feel like they have a need to seek help
- Discouraged by everyone around to seek professional help for any mental health issues
- Due to the stereotypes, many males are unable to recognise that they have a disorder or may be suicidal or that they need help in the first place
- Asked to be ‘strong and macho’ all the time
- Perceived as the provider or the protector but is never provided the protection in return. This protection may be of any kind—mental, physical, emotional or even economical.
- Parents or caretakers not acknowledging or helping or may even be shaming and discouraging men with the excuse that ‘nobody in their family or generation has ever sought to a mental health professional for help’
The binary between men and women, as implemented by the patriarchal society, is even strengthened when they need to seek help and these problems come from the stereotypes against all the genders.
To those who promote these stereotypes, here is a poem:
Stop giving advices when you do not know for yourself.
Stop shaming a person whenever she or he tries to open up.
Human mind does not work according to your barriers.
If you want to remain there, please do but do not pull people to believe in and follow these restrictions.
Please look into your own problems.
In the disguise of a goodwill,
You are deteriorating the person’s mental health.
Stop indulging into irritating behaviours.
Not being empathetic
Or gossiping and making the person’s situation even more pathetic,
Making them conscious by bringing in unwanted attention
Will only make their situation worsen.
Someone’s deteriorating condition
Is not an object to be used for your amusement.
Start acting like a human.
If only you can, provide a helping hand.
If you can not do any good,
Shut your mouth and walk away
Before you need to be shooed.
Someone’s deteriorating mental health is not for you to play.
India And Suicide
The UN health report of September 2019 states that India is third in female suicide rate. India has the highest suicide rate in the Southeast Asian region according to this report. These reports are based on the information and statistics of 2016. Due to this, suicide prevention has been included in the three primary goals of the nation. The age range of the average people who committed suicide was 15-29 years old.
Suicide rate is extremely high in the teenagers. This comes from the sudden hormonal and life changes as they shift from one phase of their life to another. Stop confusing and manipulating the teenagers or treating them as your puppets to play with. Acknowledge their feelings as an adult’s if you burden them with the problems and responsibilities of an adult. Remember that any person with a mind can face a mental health issue and teenagers are not people without minds. I had approached a helpline when I was 15 years old in the hope that my issues will be recognised but my serious issue was discarded as ‘a phase that will pass’. Five years later, when I finally could find a good mental health professional, my mental health was in a severely deteriorated state.
This is such because in India, in the veil of culture, seeking professional help for mental health issues is seen as something extremely problematic and invites more drama like astrologers and much more. Also, parents are mostly responsible for the trauma that children go through but they are not held responsible or are not asked to take accountability for the same. Instead, parents in India pass negative judgements even against such institutions or even videos which try to educate them about the mental health issues beyond the religious and stereotypical barriers.
Economic issues also lead to such problems that a person commits suicide. Also, there are many illegal rackets which influence people, especially young people, into the rackets of drug, trafficking and prostitution. Many people who are not able to tolerate the trauma that they had to undergo due to such experiences turn to suicide as a solution to their painful life where their future appears hopeless to them. Even processing trauma needs time and then, the healing starts but the people trapped in such situations do not have any time or space to think positively or look at the brighter side. Some may even feel ashamed to seek professional help because they would not want to reveal their past as they would have a fear of being judged. Many of such people are forced or trickedinto these rackets and some are not able to believe such a cheating or plotting that has been done against them and they take to suicide. In India, a huge percentage of population is poor and hence, they are trapped in such deadly and criminal cycles which may cause them a lot of physical, emotional, mental pain, suffering and torture.
Sometimes, the act of suicide is committed with the intention of taking revenge or when the person is experiencing extreme aggression. Aggression also is directed by pain that may come from betrayal or the breaking of expectations.
As said earlier, saying that ‘suicide is not the solution’ is not where we have to stop. It is good that the UN and WHO is identifying and addressing this issue and even seeking solutions to it but to be more effective, the problem needs to be worked upon within households, societies, cities and towns as well. It needs to be worked upon at different levels. Furthermore, there is work to be done at mental level, in changing the way and nature of thoughts as well.For this, each individual will have to put in work and leave all the unhealthy thoughts and patterns that she has learnt from thejudgemental society. The everyday speech needs to be regulated and if someone points out a mistake in another, the other individual should be willing to identify, think over, accept and work upon the problem. This issue needs immediate attention.
This is a poem that is written in a hope that it may help the ones who are suicidal without shaming them for feeling what they are feeling or without negating their experiences:
Turn your gaze from suicide
And try to look on the brighter side.
I know that this is tough
But even trying, for now, will be enough.
Where darkness can be seen,
Light will also be present
Which may change your vision.
Let those who know
Help you and show
That light to you
If you are unable to search it through.
Let them be the torchbearers
If they are comfortable in being so.
Do not cross the line, though,
And try not to hurt them.
They will lead you to those
Who can surely help you
If you do not know who they are.
Do not let your mind cage itself behind the stereotypical and judgemental bars.
This poem is trying to ask the people who have suicidal tendencies but have compassionate people around them who are genuinely willing to help them without any judgements to let them help. That is, this poem is encouraging the people who are experiencing suicidal tendencies to accept the help that they are receiving or are offered by the understanding people around them. Even what is suggested in this poem is not easy to do but may be effective if tried, especially with a professional.
Suicidal thoughts may not go away from meditating but may generate from fear. However, if meditation works for an individual, it may calm and ease a person’s mind for sure. Listening to positive Music or changing the environment around oneself to include the happy colours like yellow may also impact the mental health and reduce the suicidal tendencies of the individual.
Issues like bullying, racism and discrimination lead to such trauma which deeply affects the mind in a negative way. To prevent this, all such practices shall not only be banned but the teachers must take care that the bullies are not spared, however minor in age they may be.
Let us talk.
Let us not keep our mouths shut.
Let us make it normal
And appreciate when someone asks for help in their matters.
Let us not let them be on their own
When they need our help
But we also need to ensure
That we are not invading their privacy and suffocating them.
Let us try to do what is right for the one who is suffering
And not what our egos permit to, even when we may not have proper knowledge.
We also need to understand
That the other person may not benefit from our help.
So it may be that we may need to back out
From providing help if it backfires.
As helpers, we shall be prepared
To know that we do not know how we can help them.
Someone else may know the solution
But they will also be able to help
When they will allowed by that person
In her space who needs to be helped.
Let us stop demonizing
And putting clauses on how mental health looks like.
It is not just determined by a smile.
Do not use grin as an excuse to rule out the possibility of suicide.
If you are not willing to educate yourself
And want to remain and function from your limiting judgmental bubble,
If you think that it is right to discard the experience of other because you have not experienced anything as such,
Do not speak on the issue at all.
Judgmental words will take the person who is already suffering more into the dark space from where they are unable to ask for help. It may not ‘appear’ so but the person will suffer even more if a judgmental person will keep restricting, suffocating and burdening them with their inhuman and judgmental expectations and will force them to behave as they think is right. A judgmental person is the major threat to any individual struggling with severe mental health issues or suicide ideation in specific. An uneducated and judgmental mind, in this case, is extremely dangerous and a barrier in the prevention of the act of suicide from being committed. Sometimes, letting the person process her issues on her own can help. At other times, external help may be needed. It depends on what kind of personality does the person who is experiencing suicidal tendencies has. One must be very careful in trying to help someone who is experiencing suicidal tendencies. Usually, they only allow one or two people in their space because they think that these people will not judge them. These people are usually those who are their friend. If the person sharing their suicidal ideation with you asks you to keep it confidential, do not break their trust because then, even if your intentions were to help, the person will not let you in their space ever again and also, may even harm themselves.