Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Bhave Institute of Mental Health



With an alarming rise in the number of deaths due to suicide, it is essential to address this

phenomenon and create awareness about it. World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness

day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and

action to prevent suicides around the world since 2003.

Why do we need to talk about it?

The death toll due to suicide has been steadily increasing over the years. India ranks 41 st

among 200 countries with regards to suicide rate. Nearly 1.64 lakh people died by suicide in



Causes of suicide

Whenever we talk about reason behind suicide, we talk about the distal or predisposing

factors and the triggers or proximal factors. Triggers could be any major stressful events like

death of a loved one, assault, divorce, financial or legal crises. Predisposing factors can be

– Individual factors: presence of mental illness (depression, substance use disorder,

bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc), male gender, poor coping skills, low sense of

control over life circumstances, chronic pain or illness, previous suicide attempts etc

– Social factors: victims who have experienced abuse or violence over long time, family disharmony or conflicts, adverse childhood events (death or divorce of parents, physical/sexual

abuse), sexual orientation, peer rejection, family history of mental illness, social

isolation etc

– Contextual/environmental factors: Academic failure, unemployment/financial

instability, poverty, neighbourhood crime/violence, religious/cultural minorities etc


The psyche behind suicide

Often, people who arrive at this drastic decision have been ruminating about it for a while. The purpose is to seek solution to a problem that seems to them, impossible to solve. The emotional anguish is so severe that the person perceives ending his life as the only way to ease the pain. Their perception is constricted so they perceive only two options- to continue suffering or to end the life.

Warning signs

The person might become withdrawn, losing interest in previously pleasurable activities. He might give away valuable possessions, express a sense of hopelessness or helplessness. He may talk about suicidal thoughts or plans to end life. There could be unexplained crying, reckless behaviour like excess substance use.


What you can do

If someone expresses such ideas in front of you, it is natural to feel shocked or disturbed. However, appropriate response on your part can greatly help.

– Remain calm and encourage him / her to talk about the thought.

– Don’t immediately chastise/reason/ compare to others. This might make the person withdraw and not share his/her thoughts.

– Don’t dismiss the thought or downplay it.

– Mobilise a support system for the person e.g., family members, friends, roommates etc.

– Make a safety plan i.e., what the person can do when such thoughts come rushing. This could include reaching out to a trusted person , or a suicide helpline or their doctor.

– Ensure that he/she gets professional help in form of meeting a counsellor or psychiatrist.


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