The other day while I was going through my morning daily newspaper, the news of 4-5 suicides within 48 hours in a same city caught my eyes. I was wondering why it has become so common, "a disease" like among the young people so also with the elderly. What is bothering me is that why people easily opt for this "so called" easy step to end their lives instead of thinking to solve or at least fight for their existing issue. Is it that our lives have become so valueless in today's time? We have become petrified with vocabulary like 'failure', 'unsuccessful', 'losing' that they no longer exist in our dictionary. What is more alarming is that people taking such extreme step are mostly normal individual like us and not necessarily insane.
Being in medical profession myself, I am quite aware that there are a dozen of medical causes like insomnia (lack of sleep), depression, pre menstrual syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, certain drug side effects and other causes that can drive a person for a suicidal attempt. These causes do need Psychiatric counselling and proper medical therapy. If alone be these causes, than the incidence would have been much less. But in today's times, it has become a quite common urban phenomenon. Maybe our society is more stressed out. We, as adults have huge expectations on us to succeed for our material comforts and financial security. As a result of this huge pressure and expectations, we tend to put some of them on our children. At times, out of our stress, we become overly tough on our children to succeed. We fail to understand that they are more sensitive and the impact can be negative at times. In today's society, we want our kids to be the best. The never ending list like to excel in the exams, to perform well in extra curriculum, best in sports, music, to look smart, to speak well and on and on. Adolescent Psychologists has been saying many a times, that if parents are under stress in a family, the children too will have stress in such an environment. I am living in a big city myself; keep thinking when I should be content as far as my material needs are concerned. Should my standard be as par my neighbour's or my relative's? In this way, I believe my contentment level will keep rising everyday. Instead I think I should know where to draw the line. Similarly, I know my kid well and his or her capabilities instead of comparing him or her with somebody else's kid.
The incidence of suicide or suicidal tendency is also seen among elderly people. Apart from mental ill health, there are also other causes seen in urban society. Studies have shown that many a times, they suffer from stress and depression due to loneliness and aging, demise of the partner or a close relative and any terminating illness being some of the commonest causes.
Studies and Researches have time and again proved that the individual taking such a desperate attempt do look for an alternative to escape their suffering. They may go through deep mental conflict but at times become blindfolded and see no other alternative. I think we do come across people in our surrounding, among family, friends who go through emotional turmoil. If we give our small help and support to such individual, at least we can make a difference in their lives and can even save their lives. Many organizations like WHO (World Health Organization), SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices Education) and various Help lines of NGOs do give us several clues and tips to understand or at least handle such a crisis situation in our families. I am not here to give any guidelines or suggestions but at least making my little effort which can be helpful to the person whom I come across in such a situation.
• We can talk to the person in whom we spot the "warning signs" like feeling hopelessness, may talk about their bleak future in frustration, losing interest in their daily activities, withdrawing from others, change in behaviour (self destructive, self hatred, anger or too calmness). Conversing to them will at least give an opportunity to express their emotional feelings and release the negative thoughts. By listening, we will make them feel that we actually care about and are concerned. We can be sympathetic to them but not judgemental or give big lecture on value of life.
• Usually whenever a person is contemplating suicide, or such suicidal tendencies do not think that they can be helped. We can be proactive in that case by offering them to call for our assistance, drop by frequently, call again or invite them out for a while.
• We can encourage them for a healthy lifestyle; help them take up relaxation techniques like Yoga, jogging, meditation and so on. We can make the person aware to take care of himself. In case of teenagers, we can encourage them for a sports and physical activities or help them pursue a hobby. These simple measures like being happy, good sleep, exercise can release stress and tension of the person and help promote emotional well being.
• A constant offer of help and support to such a person can make a difference in their life. We are not here to fix up their problem but at least make our effort to make the person have a positive frame of mind which would help him to deal the circumstances in a better way.
• In spite of the efforts, if the person still keep showing suicidal intention, completely lose interest in his life, 'hopelessness' still creeps , we should take him for a Professional help as soon as possible for counselling and medical aid.
About Author / Additional Info:
A Medical Professional, interested in writing articles on health related issues.