“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem,” Albert Camus wrote, “and that is suicide.” Look into a daily magazine? What do you see? Malini Murmu, the 23-year-old IIM student committed suicide after reading her ex boyfriend’s tactless status update: “Feeling super cool today. Mother kills daughter, ends life. Nagpur records most suicides in state. Deputy collector’s body found hanging. Teenage girl hangs self. Painter kills wife, hangs himself. In 1995 more Americans committed suicide than were murdered.
Yes! Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain. The National Institute of Mental Health has proved that 90 percent of all suicide “completers” display some form of diagnosable mental disorder. No one will refuse to accept the fact that suicide too started to exist from the beginning of life and will exist till the last breath of life.
Today one person in five is between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Altogether there are over one billion youth and they constitute a formidable force. Most young people about 85 per cent live in developing countries with 60 per cent in Asia. The number of young people has dropped everywhere except Africa and India.
Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.
Suicide (i.e., taking one’s own life) is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year. The top three methods used in suicides of young people include firearm (45%), suffocation (40%), and poisoning (8%). Deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die.
Suicide affects all youth, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys. Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur.
Most suicide victims provide some kind of verbal or behavioral clues that signal the impending suicidal act.
ü History of previous suicide attempts
ü Family history of suicide
ü History of depression or other mental illness
ü Alcohol or drug abuse
ü Stressful life event or loss
ü Easy access to lethal methods
ü Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
The primary motivation for suicide is depression. Adolescents undergo a very rapid process of physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual development, more than in any other phase of life. It is a mood disturbance which is characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement resulting from and normally proportionate to some personal loss or tragedy. Depression can become an abnormal emotional state which exaggerates these feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement out of proportion to reality. Depression does not discriminate. It affects the young and old alike. According to Dr. Patrick Cachur of The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, 30,906 persons committed suicide in 1990. The majority of the cases (approximately 6500) occurred in the age bracket of 25 to 34 years of age. There were 258 suicides among pre-teens ages 10 to 14 years old and there were 6 suicides of children between the ages of 5 and 9 years of age. Teenage suicides have been described as epidemic in proportion to their representation within society.
A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show. Whether he likes it or not; knowingly or unknowingly the life within oneself always tries hard to show some warning signals to others. It includes threatening or hurting oneself; seeking access to explosives, available pills; talking or writing about death, dying or suicide. It also includes the increased substance of alcohol or drug use; lack of sense of purpose in life, anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time; feeling trapped like no other way out, hopelessness. The victim usually has an uncontrollable anger having a revenge attitude, and dramatic change in mood.
There are roughly 36,000 suicides annually in the U.S.
It is estimated that for every suicide there are 6 survivors.
So, approximately 5.4 million Americans became survivors of suicide in the last 25 years!
Handling a call from a Suicidal Person:
1. Be yourself. The right words are unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.
2. Listen. Let the person unload despair, ventilate anger. If given an opportunity to do this, he or she will feel better by the end of the call. No matter how negative the call seems, the fact that it exists is a positive sign, a cry for help.
3. Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. The caller has done the right thing by getting in touch with another person.
4. If the caller is saying I’m so depressed, I can’t go on, ask The Question: Are you having thoughts of suicide? You are not putting ideas in his head; you are doing a good thing for him. You are showing him that you are concerned, that you take him seriously, that it is OK for him to share his pain with you.
5. If the answer is yes, you can begin asking a series of further questions: Have you thought about how you would do it (PLAN); Have you got what you need (MEANS); Have you thought about when you would do it (TIME SET). 95% of all suicidal callers will answer no at some point in this series or indicate that the time is set for some date in the future. This will be a relief for both of you.
6. Simply talking about their problems for a length of time will give suicidal people relief from loneliness and pent up feelings, awareness that another person cares, and a feeling of being understood. They also get tired — their body chemistry changes. These things take the edge off their agitated state and help them get through a bad night.
7. Avoid arguments, problem solving, advice giving, quick referrals, belittling and making the caller feel that has to justify his suicidal feelings. It is not how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it.
Learn from a Suicidal Death:
Talking about someone who died is very hard to do. It can be even more difficult when the person died from suicide. Some people may avoid talking about the person who died because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. They might even be afraid that suicide could happen in their family, to them, or to a friend. It may surprise you to know that there are others out there who have experienced suicide, even though we often do not know who they are.
You have total control over whether or not you tell people what happens in your life. It is your decision completely. You should feel comfortable with the people you want to talk with, and you can choose to share as little or as much as you wish. Remember, whether you choose to tell someone everything or nothing at all, that choice is your right. We may never know why someone died by suicide. Most likely, the person was not himself or herself when he or she died.
When we remember them for their good loving qualities, we celebrate them in ways that are helpful for us and others who knew them. Find different ways to celebrate that person’s life, whether through pictures, stories, music, art, personal memories, funny stories, or objects that has memories.
When we remember how much we love a person, it also is very common to feel like we could have done something to prevent the death. We usually have some feelings of guilt, as if we were somehow responsible for what happened. Sometimes people blame others for the suicide. But, when someone dies from suicide, it is no one’s fault. We cannot change what happened, but we can learn from our own and other’s experiences. Our loved one had and continues to have a lot to offer us in life and after he or she has died. We can learn to live in positive ways, help ourselves when needed, and appreciate the good times we had with that person.
Remember, always talk about feelings in ways that help you feel better and understand situations better. We always can improve how we feel about every situation that happens. All problems change and improve over time, especially when we seek out help from others. Every situation in life is an opportunity to learn about who we are and how we want to live every day.
Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.
- There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.
- For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
- 80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
- Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide.
- The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.
- In 2004, 32,439 people died by suicide. (CDC)
- An average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. (CDC, AAS)
- Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
- 15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.
- There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
- Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness.
Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Too often, victims are blamed, and their families and friends are left stigmatized. As a result, people do not communicate openly about suicide. Thus an important public health problem is left shrouded in secrecy, which limits the amount of information available to those working to prevent suicide.
Overcoming Suicidal Tendency:
Life is only once; if we live it right, Once is Enough!!! ( West, 36)
Anderson, Scott. “The Urge to End it All.” New York Times. 06 2008: n. page. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.
Chandra, Joseph, and Antony Samy. Classical to Contemporary Literary Theory. 1 st ed. U.P: Atlantic, 2010, 2011. 1- 6. Print.
Hume, David. On Suicide. London: Penguin, 2005. Print.
Miller, Leslie, and Paul Rose. Suicide. 1 st ed. USA: Greenhaven Press, 2000. 30- 61. Print.
Norfolk, Donald. Conquering Back Pain. New Delhi: Orient, 1993. 1- 3. Print.
Olive, Sharon. “Counseling.” 12 2012. Leo Joseph, Online Posting to Face Book. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.
. “Suicide Facts.” Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. SAVE. Web. 29 Oct 2012.
Tegel, Peter, and Nikolai Erdman. The Suicide. Samuel French Trade, 2010. 40- 47. Print.
. “Violence Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 15 2012. Web. 29 Oct 2012.
WHO. Suicide Prevention. Geneva: , 2012. Web.