Hear people say they are suicidal? Look for help, don't ignore them

If depressed patients are identified, suicides can be prevented in 90 per cent of the cases, according to health experts in the city.

A recent survey conducted by a private hospital here arrived at the conclusion that 91 per cent of Delhiites are unaware of how to reach out for help if they are in distress.
“The number of suicide cases have quadrupled in the past few years. Out of 100 people who attempt suicide, 90 suffer from psychiatric disorder. Suicide is the final breaking point. But these cases can be prevented only when depressed patients are identified,” said Dr Samir Parikh, director of mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis.

In a survey conducted among 3,000 people between the age group of 20 and 50 by Fortis, it was found that 85 per cent of the respondents blamed the victims.

It was also found from the results of the survey that people either think those attempting suicide are “mentally weak” or acted on an impulse. Training is required at the community level to overcome the indifference toward mental health condition.
“This social attitude that suicides are not preventable needs to change. When you hear someone say he is suicidal, you should know where to seek help instead of ignoring it,” Dr Parikh said.

The stigma associated with mental health is another reason why there is little sensitisation among people regarding suicide.

“We cannot refuse to look at the rising number of suicide cases in our society. But at the policy level, there is little sensitisation brought about by either the government or the society,” said Dr Nimesh Desai, director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences.

While according to some experts a National Suicide Prevention Policy and public-private partnerships across government and non-government agencies are required to curb the rising number of suicides, there is still a lack of effective mental health policy.

“A significant number of suicide cases are related to the mental health condition. But there is government indifference to the entire situation,” said Dr Desai.

The major factors that trigger worse mental conditions are not being able to keep pace with peers and having no cushion at home to fall back on in times of distress.

“There is always an anxiety of performance in today’s generation. We get several cases in which peer pressure, keeping pace with the social media, break up of relationships and the lack of  family counsellors add to woes of children,” said Dr Rajiv Mehta, senior consultant psychiatrist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

“It is necessary for parents to help them cope with stress instead of being judgemental when they share their grief,” he added.

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