VISAKHAPATNAM: Awareness is key to prevent suicides and early identification of ‘red flags’ can help in sending an individual to counselling/therapy. If you have any problem, speak to your dear ones, seek medical help, say experts.
On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, psychiatrists and counsellors have said that there has been a surge in stress and anxiety among people. It is important to note that suicide can be prevented and anyone can help a person overcome such tendencies.
Clinical psychologist at the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) Dr Bhavani says while it is important to consult a mental health professional while having suicidal thoughts, there is so much that the general public can do.
It is important to understand the underlying cause behind harmful thoughts, Dr Bhavani said and added that early identification of ‘red flags’ can help in sending the individual to counselling/therapy. “Suicidal thoughts need not necessarily flow out of low or lackadaisical behaviour. Many people having suicidal tendencies look normal or happy,” she observed.
However, actions like talking frequently about funerals and randomly handing over personal things to friends and relatives can be construed as red flags. In such cases, Dr Bhavani says, those who care about the person should let he/she understand that they need medical help as soon as possible.
“Awareness is the key to suicide prevention. Seminars should be conducted on the cause and impact of suicides in schools and other places,” she added.
Dr Pragna Mitra, a psychologist at Government Hospital for Mental Health Care said that several suicide cases were observed in lower-middle-class families.“Mental health issues like depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder often lead to suicidal thoughts.
In most cases, people think they will not be able to overcome an obstacle in front of them, which, in fact, is not true. Any issue can be solved with the help and support from close ones and through mental health care,” she asserted.
Also, Dr Pragna spoke at length on the increasing rate of suicidal tendencies among teenagers. “We see cases where children take the extreme step due to exam pressure, or for things like not having a phone, bike, etc. Children inflict pain upon themselves, finding it hard to handle someone’s disapproval,” she explains.
Dr Pragna said that adolescents should be given proper mental health awareness. “They should be told that examination is not a litmus test for life, but a mere test of knowledge, which can be worked upon any number of times,” she said.
“It is extremely important to encourage a person to speak out their mind and one should also be given a chance to be heard. Even after therapy, it is important that their family and friends empathise with their situation and make them feel valued and safe,” she added. Besides medical support, a few kind words from the family or friends would surely make a lot of difference to the people in distress.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call AASRA's 24x7 Helpline: +91-9820466726 for assistance.