Life is not always a bed of roses. Though it may appear that for some, it is loaded with happiness and joy, and for others, there are only thorns, this is not so. Everyone encounters bad times or tough situations at some point or the other. Even the happiest of people can come up against a wall but many choose to stay strong in such situations. On the other hand, there are others who give up easily. However, being strong does not imply not being affected by stress. This is because extreme circumstances or traumatic events are invariably accompanied by some sort of tension and pressure. In such times, too much stress can hamper an individual’s mental health and result in mental health problems. Undeniably, whether one is affected by a mental disorder or not, tough times in life can always prompt one to indulge in risky behavior, including suicide.
The statistics shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO), reflect this risk and the way suicide has become a serious matter of concern across the globe. It has been reported by the WHO that more than 800,000 people die by committing suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also shared some startling numbers. As per CDC, suicide has caused around 42,826 deaths in a year in the U.S. alone. In fact, the latest numbers by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), reveal that in 2016, 9.8 million adults aged 18 years or older seriously thought of committing suicide. The data found that deaths from suicide average to 100 people per day.
Taking into account the fact that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and understanding the criticality of the situation, President Trump has taken a step forward to fight against this issue as part of the World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The day is observed every year on September 10 and aims to spread awareness about the ways to prevent suicide.
President Trump shares suicide prevention measures
On the World Suicide Prevention Day, President Trump encouraged Americans to end the stigma associated with suicides by talking openly about the issue. He said, “While we offer comfort and solace to survivors, we take heart in knowing that in joining together, communities can prevent suicides.” In a statement that he issued to mark the day, President Trump suggested a number of steps that can be taken to prevent suicide such as:
- having discussions and talking openly about suicide,
- identifying risk factors that may instigate one to commit suicide such as mental illness, trauma and substance abuse, and
- making sure that the required help is provided to those in need.
He emphasized that taking such measures could help prevent the risk of untimely deaths. President Trump while citing statistics proving that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., noted that veterans were particularly at risk. He said, “Every day, 20 veterans tragically take their own lives. More service members have died by suicide than from combat in recent years. We must do more — they are our heroes, and they deserve the world-class health care my Administration has pledged to provide to them.”
Common signs of suicidal ideation
Suicide is an act of intentionally ending one’s own life. An individual develops suicidal thoughts when he/she begins to believe that suicide is the only way to end the intense emotional pain one is experiencing or when an individual feels extremely hopeless and helpless, or is suffering from a physical illness or is dealing with some form of severe and/or untreated mental illness. Some of the common signs of suicidal ideation in an individual are:
- Withdrawal from family/friends
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Weight changes
- Changes in sleeping pattern
- Writing goodbye letters
- Emotional outbursts
- Planning for suicide
- Talking about suicide
Preventive measures for suicide
The WHO shares a number of tips on how to help someone who is suicidal. A few of them are:
- Reduce access to suicidal means such as pesticides and certain medications.
- Media should be more responsible and sensible while reporting events that can induce stress or panic in the public.
- Implementing policies to curb the illicit use of alcohol.
- Early diagnosis and treatment of individuals with mental health issues, physical ailments and substance use disorders.
- Training non-specialized health workers to correctly assess and manage suicidal behavior.
- Continued care of individuals who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
World Suicide Prevention Day to help curb suicide rate
Organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the WHO, the World Suicide Prevention Day, aims at helping people across the globe know and understand that suicide can be prevented. The theme of 2017 was “Take a Minute, Change a Life,” which emphasized the need and importance of openly discussing suicidal thoughts, and taking out time and listening to people who are considering suicide. It is also important to seek help when one comes to know that a loved one is suicidal or if one him/her self is considering the same. Let us take a step forward and jointly work towards achieving the aim of reduced suicide cases across the globe.
Even one moment of life is precious. Though life is unpredictable and precarious, it is worth fighting for. Therefore, it is important to understand that one can overcome negative and suicidal thoughts, that every problem can be conquered and that there are always people willing and wanting to help. No situation is so bad that it is worth giving up one’s life for. If someone is unable to fight feelings of hopelessness and despair or is suffering from some kind of mental illness, seek help. There are professionals who are trained to help people who are suicidal. If you feel that a loved one is thinking such thoughts, or suspect that he/ she has a mental disorder that is becoming worse, help them, give them time, listen to them and seek professional help. You never know when a simple act of yours could help save a life.
What did you do to fight against suicidal thoughts and save a life? Let us know in the comment box below.