WHO Initiative: 40 Seconds Against Suicide
Mental Health, a part of the health that is dedicated to psychological, emotional and social well being of a person and affects how one feels and acts. The human mind is designed to handle a specific level of stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental Health progresses through various stages of life from adolescence to childhood and later adulthood. However, one might experience numerous mental health problems throughout their lifetimes due to various factors such as biological, tough life experiences and family history of mental health problems. 10th October marks as the World Mental Health Day where the day is focused on ensuring awareness of mental health and its problems.
Mental health has always been a taboo in various societies, whereas many families try to avoid the topic as a whole. The mental health is affected due to various aspects of life including age, job profile and other issues. Depression and stress are the most common problems that are related to mental health whereas the “feeling of low” exists for longer durations of time than normal. Suicide is one of the most drastic outcomes of mental health problems.
“Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to Suicide. Close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts on families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies. Suicides are preventable. Much can be done to prevent suicide at the individual, community and national levels”- WHO
Why one may suicide?
Various mental disorders can cause a drastic step of intentionally ending one’s own life. Mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders and substance abuse like alcoholism and use of Benzodiazepines can lead to suicide. While suicides are due to stress, or not feeling loved that accumulates for a long time that results in one impulsive action. There is no specific age for suicide; it can be caused due to bullying at school to financial difficulties in adult life.
Prevention- Know the Early Signs
Various times, the symptoms of suicide are very clear. People who might have the intention to end their life does comment on various occasions like “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing Matters” which can gradually become more explicit and dangerous. Various other early warning signals are increased alcohol and drug use, aggressive behaviour, withdrawal from friends and family, dramatic mood swings and impulsive or reckless behaviour.
The suicidal behaviours call for a psychiatrist emergency that needs to be attended to as soon as possible. Once one has experienced the early signs and has made the intention of committing suicide, he/she might do certain things as a last step to the process. These actions should not be ignored if you are close to them and have been noticing these symptoms and signs in the behaviour:
Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
Giving away possessions
Tying up loose ends like organizing personal papers
Paying off debts and saying goodbye to friends and family.
Suicide as a Mental Health Threat
Previously WHO also addressed the problem on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, “the number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies has increased in the last five years, but the number of countries with strategies, at just 38, is far too few. More governments need to introduce proven interventions for reducing national suicide rates. These include:
Restricting access to means of suicide including drugs and weapons.
Implementing programmes among young people to build skills to cope with life stresses.
Early identification, management and follow-up of people at risk of suicide.
Working with media to ensure responsible reporting of suicide.
A day dedicated to “40 Seconds of Action”
The key factor which causes suicides is not being aware or not addressing the stress. The initiative taken by the WHO organization for the same is that World Mental Health Day 2019 is dedicated to ensuring that each and everyone suffering can have a better chance at life. Suicide is preventable, and it is time to step up as a community to ensure that this act is prevented as much as possible.