World Suicide Prevention Day observed: 'One person commits suicide every 40 seconds'


By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 10: 17th World Suicide Prevention Day was observed under the theme "Working Together to Prevent Suicide" at IMA Hall, Lemphelpat, Imphal today.
Speaking at the event as chief guest, Dr K Rajo Singh, Director Health Services Manipur, said that suicide is a major public health problem and the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year on September 10 to increase awareness about the 'preventable problem.'
Suicide is a mental health problem associated with stress, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, impulsive disorder, generally as result of socio-economic changes, financial problem, stress, broken relationship, exploitation, harassment, physical abuse and other risk factors which drive individual to take own life, he said.
Suicide is common among adults. One person commits suicide every 40 seconds and its is the 13th largest killer, Dr Rajo added.
According to WHO report 1999, globally, over 1 million people die annually by suicide. There is 60 percent rise in suicide rates over the last 50 years. Suicide is common in age group 35-44 years. It is second leading cause of death among 15-24 years. Nearly 30 percent of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China, he said.
Chances of committing suicide among individuals who had attempted suicide earlier is high. Risks factors are multi factorial and multidimensional. High index of suspicious and early recognition is important to prevent suicides.
All stakeholders, society, family, friends, Medical Department, Social Welfare Department and police Department should work together to effectively prevent suicides, Rajo said.
If a person is identified/diagnosed to have suicidal tendency, he/she should be provided support, psychological aid and proper treatment/attention at well equipped hospital, he added.
One percent of the total population of the State has mental health problem, 2-3 percent have Epilepsy. 25,000 to 30,000 are drug users/abusers, he said stating that they are at risk of developing suicidal tendency.
Associate Professor & Head of Department of Psychiatry JNIMS Dr K Shantibala Devi said 80 percent of suicide cases are associated with depression, 10 percent - schizophrenia and 10 percent - drug and alcohol abuse.
If proper counselling is given in time, suicide is 100 percent preventable, she said.
Verbal warning signs:
"I wish I could disappear forever," "Nobody cares, I may as well be dead," "I want to go to sleep and not wake up," "I just can't take it anymore," are some of the verbal warning signs. If such comments are heard, friends and family should give the person proper counselling and timely treatment, said experts.
No-verbal warning signs:
Non-verbal warning signs include symptoms of depression, withdrawal/isolation from family and friends, unexplained weight loss or gain, inability to sleep or excessively sleeping, reckless behaviour-increased alcohol or drug abuse, dropping out of sports, hobbies, work or school, making a will, visiting relatives and giving away of personal belongings and buying of dangerous weapons etc.
Experts said that friends and family should take seriously, listen carefully and extend support when someone talks about 'wish to die.' Giving counselling psychological first aid is next step. Talking about suicide doesn't increases the chances of suicide rather it helps the person to ventilate his/her feelings, experts said.
National Mental Health Programme, State Health Society, NHM Manipur and Indian Psychiatric Society, Manipur State Branch organised the event.
Dr P Shyamsunder Singh, Addl Director, Health Services Manipur, Professor RK Lenin Singh, Head of Department of Psychiatry RIMS also attended the event.