Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. By suicide, one kills not only himself but also the people who love him.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old globally. Every year near about 800000 people take their own lives; that is one person dies every 40 seconds.
The global age-standardised rate for suicide in 2016 was 10.5 per 100000 population. But this rate varied widely. 79 per cent of the world's suicides occurred in low-and middle-income countries, but high-income countries had the highest rate which is11.5 per 100000.
Why Suicide? When one realises that life is worthless, he commits suicide. But suicide doesn't solve his/her problems. It only makes the problem worse.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. No one ever has a conclusive reason for suicide.
The majority of the people who commit suicide, do not want to live the life they have. They fail to find out any meaning of their lives. The life they live seems to them meaningless, futureless and sometimes they consider it a big burden for their friends, family and society.
Suicide leaves everyone feeling guilty. Many people who commit suicide do so without thinking about it in cool mind or planning it thus.
Who are at the risk? Tthe major risk factor of suicide are some psychiatric diseses like depression, mood disorder, schizophrenia. Some risk factors for teenagers are alcohol, drug abuse, traumatic events, availability of a gun, intense feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness, panic attack and exposure to other teens who have committed suicide.
How we can predict and prevent suicide? We can predict suicide by some alarming signs. Threats of suicide-either direct or indirect-may be found in verbal hints such as "I won't be around much longer" or "It's hopeless", or in the lifestyle symptoms such as obsession with death, depressed mood, an overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection, sudden change in personality or appearance, bizarre thoughts, changes in sleeping patterns, changes in school/college performance, lack of interest in daily activities etc.
Great philosopher Aristotle said, "To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that suicide braves death, he (the person committing it) does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill".
Suicide is a serious public health problem, but it is preventable. We can avoid suicide by talking with the people at the risk of suicide. On the World Mental Health Day being observed today globally, let us try our best in our respective capacities to help millions around us afflicted with this catastrophic disorder.
Dr. Sayed Inam is a psychiatrist.
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