The National Crime Records Bureau of India (NCRB) has published their new report of Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India for the year 2019. Since 2017, the act of suicide has been de-criminalized in India by the Mental Healthcare Act and suicide is no longer published under the criminal acts report by the NCRB.
Suicides are always a tragic act which has a deep impact on the person who does it as well as the kith and kin of them. Statistics tell us that in the year 2019 there were 1, 39, 123 suicides reported across India which is a 3.4% increase compared to the previous year. Among all the states, Tamil Nadu reports the second highest number of suicides after Maharashtra. The trend has remained the same in the previous year also. Further analysis of the data shows a lower percentage of male suicides in the younger age group (below 18 years) and a higher percentage of male suicides in the rest of the older age groups (18 years and above). Suicide data from the cities in India shows the alarming fact that Chennai tops the list with 2461 suicides reported which is a 17.1% increase from the previous year. What drives people to suicide? Why is suicide looked as a solution by some people?
While we can certainly argue that suicide is not a solution or answer to the problems in our lives, for some people who contemplate suicide it may appear as the only answer for them. Suicides have been viewed as a taboo subject in our societies that even talking about it does not go well with emotionally sensitive individuals. Apart from the taboo, the subject of suicide has been surrounded by plenty of myths too. For example, talking about suicide is often seen as an encouragement but reality shows us that it is not so.
Suicide is a mental health crisis situation. There are various factors which can drive a person to suicide. Issues such as family problems, illness, substance use disorders, marriage related issues, love affairs, financial troubles, unemployment are listed as the top reasons for people to suicide as per the NCRB report. Research shows that mental illness like depression can give rise to suicidal thoughts to persons who are experiencing it. Everyday life events and stressors play a big part in developing depression when they are not handled properly. Awareness about one’s own mental health along with good coping skills can help a person to maintain good mental health.
Most of the time our mental health can be maintained in a good state by taking good self care measures. Self care activities such as meditation, yoga, music, gardening, constructive hobbies can all help in the relaxation of a person’s mind and help with building good coping skills as well. However to know and maintain good mental health, resourceful knowledge about mental health is essential. Only through proper knowledge, stressors can be identified and good coping skills can be enhanced. Additionally, good mental health education can help in identifying professional support systems which are helpful in the timely treatment of mental illnesses.
Research has shown that good quality mental health education has the ability to change the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of the people. Across the world, many such educational courses are offered for suicide prevention which helps in saving lives. Good quality suicide prevention courses should teach the learner about identifying suicidal ideation in a person by recognising the warning signs & symptoms and teach the life skill of effective communication with suicidal persons by removing the hesitancy, fear and by building confidence. It will also teach the learner about the nuances of communicating with a suicidal person in a safe manner.
MHFA is proud to announce that our course ‘Mental Health First Aid for the Suicidal Person’ is one such useful course which teaches practical skills to help dealing with a suicidal person. The 4 hour duration course has been launched by MHFA India on the International Suicide Prevention Day - on 10/09/2020. The course can be learned by any adult and is open for all. More details on the course can be found on the website: www.mhfaindia.com or by calling MHFA India on: 7397383004.