Take a minute, change a life, to prevent suicides

Chennai: Chennai, which is now the medical capital of the country with advanced technologies and medical facilities, ranks topmost among cities with highest number of suicides. 

These statistics reveal lack of mental health facilities and awareness on suicide, which is a major social and public health issue in the city.

 Researches reveal that people vulnerable to suicides exhibit warning signs, which remain unrecognized by their friends and family, due to lack of mental health awareness, especially suicides. A study published in Indian Journal of Social Psychiatry recently reveals that strong attachment and integration with family served as a protective factor against suicide attempt. Findings say that higher proportions of attempters come from nuclear families or small peer group.

 To focus on such factors, World Suicide Prevention Day focuses on “Take a minute, change a life” to highlight the role of individuals in preventing suicides by taking time to reach out to people who feel suicidal.

 “There are various risk factors such as loss of interest, lack of appetite, self-harm, isolation, abuse, addiction and other factors. But family members often ignore such factors and people contemplating suicides are silenced often. When warning signs of behavioural changes are witnessed, professional help should can be reached out to 104 help line,’ said senior counsellor, Prabhu Das.

 He adds that every individual needs to communicate their thoughts to be understood by family and friends when undergoing mental trauma, stress and depression that often lead to depression.

 Psychologists say there are various causes of suicides such as professional issues, financial loss, career problems, isolation, abuse, family problems, mental disorders, chronic pain etc. and cannot have a defined solution. It becomes the responsibility of family members, peer groups and communities to establish a communication and prevent suicides.

 “The real conversation we need to be having with youth is about their reasons for choosing self-harm, mental health, depression, stress and sensitivity. If we talk out the things, suicide is preventable. If needed, medication can be given accordingly,” Dr S Nambi, senior psychiatrist.

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