In a world filled with constant stimuli and social media trends, it is increasingly pertinent to have open dialogues about our mental wellbeing. Some areas of mental health, like self-care, and common concerns like anxiety and depression seem to be getting more attention over the past few years. In the midst of all this chaos and clutter, the topic of suicide is often overlooked. While this topic may be difficult for some of us to address, statistics show otherwise. Yet suicide is the most preventable death and talking about suicide can save a life.
Suicides in India increased by 23% from 2000 – 2015 according to data released by the National Health Profile of India – 2018. With 1 in 3 Indians suffering from depression, it is the need of the hour to implement a National Suicide Prevention Policy. But a National Policy on Suicide Prevention is only the first step. A large part of suicide prevention is a conversation.
Conversations are the gateway to understanding. There is a wide perception that talking to a person exhibiting suiciding behavior could encourage them to attempt suicide. But the fact is that the converse is true. Talking about suicide can help the individual feel less alone.
Edwin S. Schneidman, in his book, The Suicidal Mind, notes that in almost all cases of suicide, the patients have reported feeling hopeless and isolated. Depression and suicide can often leave one feeling isolated and debilitatingly alone. A population-wide study found close links between loneliness and suicidal ideation. Loneliness, in this case, may not only relate to physical isolation such as in situations where children move out into a new city or after having lost friends. But also emotional separation.
Emotional isolation can leave you thinking you are completely alone in this world. Even when surrounded by people. It can feel as though our life is worse than everyone else’s. That we are alone in our misery. Preventing us from reaching out for help and causing further isolation.
At times like these, when one is entrenched in this cycle of spiraling isolation even a small text from a friend can offer respite from the darkness. Conversations about suicide, when had responsibly, can help at-risk individuals feel supported and cared for. It helps them feel connected and to feel like a part of the world again.
Suicide prevention is a collective responsibility that requires creating awareness, easily accessible knowledge and resources, and destigmatization. But possibly the most important yet undervalued asset is a conversation. We need to remember that it is in our hands to take the initiative. Because talking about suicide can help someone stay safe.
We recommend The next time you see somebody in distress, it could be anyone sop and ask if they are okay
Would you like you to learn how to have a conversation that can save a life?