Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or bullying.
When someone ends his or her life, we say that they “died by suicide.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 people, one person every 40 second, die due to suicide every year.
The body says suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old globally.
People who experience suicidal thoughts and feelings are suffering with tremendous emotional pain. People who have died by suicide typically had overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, despair, and helplessness.
Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death.
However, suicide is not about a moral weakness or a character flaw. People considering suicide feel as though their pain would never end and that suicide is the only way to stop the suffering.
Types Of Suicide
According to Emile Durkheim theory on suicide, there are four different types of suicide. Which are:
- Egoistic suicide.
- Altruistic suicide.
- Anomic suicide.
- Fatalistic suicide.
When a man becomes socially isolated or feels that he has no place in society he destroys himself. This is the suicide of self-centered person who lacks altruistic feelings and is usually cut off from main stream of the society.
2. Altruistic Suicide
This type of suicide occurs when social group involvement is too high and the expectation from a group is being met at a very high level such as a sacrifice for a cult or religion. Another example would be a Marta or a suicide bomber.
3. Anomic Suicide
Anomic suicide relates to a low degree of regulation and this kind of suicide is carried out during periods of considerable stress and frustration. A good example would be great financial loss or when the financial market that person controls collapses with severe consequences for many involved.
4. Fatalistic Suicide
This type of suicide is due to overregulation in society. Under the overregulation of a society, when a servant or slave commits suicide, when a barren woman commits suicide, it is the example of fatalistic suicide.
Although Durkheim’s theory of suicide has contributed much about the understanding of the phenomenon because of his focus on social rather than on biological or personal factors, the main drawback of the theory is that it focuses too much only on one factor thereby making the theory defective and only one sided.
Symptoms Of Suicide
- Dramatic mood swings
- Sudden change to extreme happiness
- Talking about wanting to die
- Talking about having no reason to live
- Forming a plan for the suicide attempt
- Wanting to be left alone
- Violent or rebellious behaviors
- Running away
- Difficulty concentrating
- Vague somatic physical symptoms
- Decline in work or scholastic performance
- Withdrawing from once-pleasurable feelings
- Neglecting personal appearance
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Seeking out lethal means to end their life
- Preoccupation with death or dying
- Getting affairs in order – making a will, giving away treasured possessions
- Saying goodbye to loved ones
- Acting recklessly
- Previous suicide attempts
- Psychomotor agitation
- Sudden and extreme personality changes
- No hope for the future
- The belief that nothing will get better
- Sudden sense of calm
- Increased usage of alcohol or drugs
- Worsening of emotional health
- Panic attacks
- Angst and extreme remorse
Suicide Warning Signs
Most people who are considering suicide give off warning symptoms of their intentions which should never be ignored.
Talking about suicide – Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”
Seeking out lethal means – Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Preoccupation with death – Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
Saying goodbye – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
Withdrawing from others – Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
Self-destructive behavior – Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”
Sudden sense of calm – A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to attempt suicide.
Lost of Hopes – Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.
Self-loathing, self-hatred – Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden such as “Everyone would be better off without me”.
Giving Out Possession – Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
Change in Personalty: Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as switching from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.
Causes Of Suicide
Life can be painful and problems can seem overwhelming at times. Some people may think about suicide but do not act upon it. For others, suicide seems like the only way out of their situation or the feelings they are experiencing.
They generally feel very alone and hopeless. They believe nobody can help them or understand what they are going through. It is generally believed that the causes for suicidal thoughts are the result of a number of different factors working together. The most common causes are thought to be
One of the major causes of suicide in this present age is depression or depressive disorder where one is feeling considerably sorry for oneself and it could be the result of a breakup from boyfriend or girlfriend or a divorce.
In truth, someone in this category will never actually commit suicide but will enter into negative suicidal thoughts and on some level this is possibly very cathartic or even helpful in contrast to their pain and extreme feelings of loss or rejection or towards other similar situations that may arise in their life.
Many of the mental illnesses that cause suicidal feelings have a genetic component, most notably in those who have first-degree relatives who have struggled with suicidal behaviours or thoughts.
Many mental illnesses cause decreased levels of dopamine, the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter, which can cause individuals to feel depressed and empty.
These individuals may experience reduced sensations of pleasure, which can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Individuals who have a terminal diagnosis or are living with chronic pain are at increased risk for suicide.
Environmental Factor Suicide and Suicidal thoughts may be the result of overwhelming life events including loss of dear ones, stressful situations, and tremendous emotional pain. Additionally, social isolation adds to the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.
Individuals who struggle with untreated or undiagnosed mental illnesses may come to feel hopeless and helpless, as they are unable to control their symptoms. They may come to believe that suicide is the only way to relieve the incredible agony they feel. These individuals may seek or indulge in alcohol and drug abuse as a way to temporarily numb/reduce the pain they are in.
Research shows that approximately 90% of people who have died by suicide were suffering from a mental illness at the time. The most common mental illness reported was depression. Impulsivity and substance use, including alcohol and drugs, are also warning signs for elevated suicide risk. It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts and behaviours are not the natural consequence of serious life stresses.
Life Events That Causes Suicide
People who experience a stressful life event may feel intense sadness or loss, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness, and may occasionally have the thought that they would be better off dead. In most people, however, experiences of stressful life events do not trigger recurring thoughts of death, creation of a suicide plan, or intent to die. If any of these is present, it suggests that the person is suffering depression or another psychiatric disorder and should seek professional treatment.
Other causes and reasons why someone considers suicide includes:
- Relationship break-ups
- Family problems
- Sexual, physical or emotional abuse
- Drug or alcohol problems
- Mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression
- Eating disorders like Anorexia
- Major loss and grief such as a death or the suicide of a friend, family member, public figure
- Unemployment or being unemployed for a long time
- Feeling like they don’t belong anywhere
- Financial or legal problems
- Any problem that they can’t see a solution for
Effects Of Suicide On Family and Friends
Learning that a loved one has died by suicide can absolutely be traumatic. In addition to all the feelings that anyone would feel about the death of a loved one, when the death is a suicide, there are additional feelings like:
- Extreme guilt for not preventing the suicide
- Failure because a person they loved felt unloved and completed suicide
- Anger or resentment at the person who chose to take his or her own life
- Distress over unresolved issues (many of which often exist in families where one person has a mental illness, which is common in people who die by suicide)
- study shows that parents who lost a child to suicide typically have higher rates of depression.
How To Prevent Suicide
No single discipline or level of societal organisation is solely responsible for suicide srevention; individuals in many roles and at all levels of society and community as well as the government bodies can and should contribute to the prevention of suicide related behaviours.
Here are the few tips on how to prevent individuals from suicidal thought or attempt.
Communication is key to caring, understanding, and being non‐judgmental. When talking about suicide or suicide-related behaviors, the words of hope and comfort can help one to avoid stigmatization and shame. Suicide Prevention is aided by addressing the stigma of suicide and mental illness that comes with the process. Getting the attempted victim to talk to you can help them out of their situation.
Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. It needs to be a direct question that can’t be misinterpreted. This is because most people with thoughts of suicide want to talk about it. They want to live but desperately need someone to hear their pain and offer them help to keep safe. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about suicide. This shows you care and they are not alone.
Listen To Them
If you have anyone who is feeling seriously depressed and sure it could lead to suicidal attempt kindly get them to speak up. Let them do most of the talking. They will often feel a great sense of relief someone wants to talk to them about their darkest thoughts.
Check Their Safety
Ensure you check up on them regularly, especially, if you are really worried don’t leave them alone. Take away weapons, medications, drugs, alcohol, and even deny them access to car. Get help by calling Lifeline or emergency services number you have. You can also take them to a hospital emergency department for a close monitoring.
Decide And Take Action
Talk about steps you can take together to keep them safe. Don’t agree to keep it a secret, you shouldn’t be the only one supporting this person. You may need help from someone else to persuade them to get help. You can also help by finding out information on what resources and services are available for a person who is considering suicide.
There are lots of services and people that can help and provide assistance such as a doctor, counsellor, psychologist, social worker, school counsellor, community health centres crisis support services like lifeline, kids helpline. Also, seek support from family and friends, priests and other religious leaders.
Talk To someone You Trust
A person considering suicide as the only way out of a predicament needs to speak out and talk to a trusted person. You don’t have to go through this alone. Tell someone how you feel. Ask for help.
How To Prevent Suicide In Children And Teens
You can prevent suicide by being on the lookout for the warning signs mentioned above. You can also prevent suicide by asking about it. Studies show that people do not start thinking about suicide just because someone asks them about it. If you suspect your child or adolescent is suicidal, tell them that you are worried and want to help them.
Remember, sometimes children or adolescents thinking about suicide won’t tell you because they are worried how you will react.
Your direct, non-judgmental questions can encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Regardless of their response, if you suspect that the person may be suicidal, get them help immediately.
You can start by asking your child if he or she is thinking about suicide. Be sure to ask them in a clear, straight-forward language like: “I’m worried about you. Have you been having thoughts about wanting to die or killing yourself?” People who attempt or complete suicide often exhibit a number of warning signs, either through what they say or by what they do.
The more warning signs a teenager exhibits, the higher the risk of completing suicide. If you think your child might be at risk for suicide, you should have him/her evaluated by a professional. You could call your primary care physician, your child’s therapist or psychiatrist, your local mobile crisis team, or visit the closest emergency department. (you can also read teen depression)
How To Talk To A Suicidal Person
Be yourself. Let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone. The right words are often unimportant. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it.
Listen. Let the suicidal person unload despair, vent anger. No matter how negative the conversation seems, the fact that it is taking place is a positive sign.
Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm, accepting. Your friend or family member is doing the right thing by talking about his/her feelings.
Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are temporary. Let the person know that his or her life is important to you.
Take the person seriously. If the person says things like, “I’m so depressed, I can’t go on,” ask the question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” You are not putting ideas in their head; you are showing that you are concerned, that you take them seriously, and that it’s OK for them to share their pain with you.
Don’t Promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe. If you promise to keep your discussions secret, you may have to break your word
Don’t offer ways to fix their problems, or give advice, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it is hurting your friend or loved one.