Suicide should be viewed as silent help seeking and not a crime.
The Mental Healthcare Act 2017. Decriminalized suicide and helped reduce stigma. All of us know at least one person whom we lost to suicide. The immediate family and close friends are called suicide survivors. Who survive with the pain and sometimes guilt when a friend or family member dies by suicide?
Gatekeepers are adults already in contact with and working among youth on a day to day basis like teachers / HR managers/ coaches/ clergy.They are trained to identify and ask students about suicidal thoughts and to liaison with mental health care professionals if needed. So what are the warning signs! When a person talks of killing themselves. Pay heed and take notice. Acknowledge their pain; show them you care by sitting down with them and really listening.
Hopelessness and feeling like a burden to others, withdrawal and wanting to be isolated, bouts of rage and reckless behavior with alcohol n drugs, sleep disturbance. These are all warning signs.
Para suicide is when a method of low lethality is used but the intention to die may actually be low.
Copycat suicides occur when the media either social media or print or films highlight a particular suicide and rash of suicides follow. It’s like a trigger offering an example to people already struggling to decide to live.
At home if you have a family member who talks of suicide do some practical measures to reduce access to reduce access to sharp objects like knives, scissors. Lock the terrace door; store all tablets in a safe place. Don’t leave them to sleep alone.
Most people find it difficult to ask for consultation with psychiatrists. It would be better if all medical professionals are made aware of risk factors to ask for.
Family history of mood disorders, suicide and alcohol dependence is indicators. Past history of suicide attempts, recent loss of significant relationship, thoughts of rage and revenge are also indicators to look out for.
All doctors should know to prescribe simple antidepressant like SSRIs which can be life saving. Schools and colleges will benefit from displaying contact numbers of a few trustworthy staff who are trained in counseling. Being kind is not rocket science and you will be saving a life just by listening and trying to help.