Running a business is a dynamic activity and some personalities are made for the kind of challenges it entails. However, when unforeseen developments occur, the person running the business faces the risk of upsetting many and facing serious negative consequences.
Resilience and patience are two qualities that are essential for individuals looking to enter the world of entrepreneurship. At a time when someone is facing bankruptcy or legal action, turning to negative coping strategies like alcohol or drugs, has far-ranging effects, beyond the individual and onward to their families. Sometimes, lethal consequences like suicide and suicide pacts occur.
Suicide pacts deserve a special mention here. These are in families that remain close-knit and are to themselves. They have few contacts or confidants outside of the family. They may not share their problems or difficulties with others. They often live in isolation away from their origins. This leads to the negative spiral of no support. Also, suicide pacts do not always include the decision of all members. One member in the family may have taken a decision and forced this on others and more so on the minors.
Support networks like neighbours, who might have sensed something amiss are also key. A reassuring neighbourhood can avert pact-based suicide. Each neighbour or friend or business associate can be a gatekeeper.
For those in the middle of the storm, it is also essential to avoid blaming oneself totally for losses in a company. Once an impending loss sets in, discussions with well-meaning and supportive friends can serve as an emotional backup system. Support should come in sans prejudices and derision.
Objective and realistic suggestions also help overcome the challenges while at the same time having a more personal effect on the individual, helping him or her unload their concerns. This ventilation helps uncloud; the relief reduces grave thoughts of suicide; the individual begins to look at the problem differently and finds new solutions.
Suicide helplines have a potential role to play as well. Sadly, misuse and abuse by others have discouraged those who set up such helplines. Additionally, reporting on suicides also needs to change. Suicides are often sensationalized and reports may inadvertently glorify the event. More so, if it is connected or related to well-known businesses or a social or politically well-known person.
The more graphic the news report, the more harmful is the effect. Reporting can be in such a way that it will help others prevent suicide and also provide the insight that there could be multiple solutions and ending one’s life in such situations is NOT the only way.
These are among families that keep to themselves. They have few confidants outside of the family. This leads to a negative spiral of no support.
B. N. Gangadhar is the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS)