Social isolation instigates suicide

Mekhla Sarkar | Update: | Print Edition

About 800,000 people commit suicide every year around the globe, according to World Health Organisation.Life can seem meaningless and a burden at times. One may feel there is no reason to live. The life ahead scares us. Many think to end their life at such difficult times as if death is the only solution to get rid of all the problems.

Our collective effort can stop the tendency of committing suicide.

International Association for Suicide Prevention observes World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September every year.

The theme of the day this year is, “Working together to prevent suicide.”

Human beings are capable to live in adverse situations, no matter how hard it is. We even cope up with the loss of children and live. Therefore, suicide cannot be a normal reaction in any circumstances.

Study says those who commited suicide were going through psychological troubles.

About 50 per cent among them have flawed personality, 6 per cent have depressions, 7 per cent were drug addicts and the remaining others have complicated mental disorders including schizophrenia. Less skilled and socially isolated individuals are more prone to suicide than others.

About 800,000 people commit suicide every year around the globe, according to World Health Organisation. Most of them are above 70 years while the people who commit suicide in several countries including Bangladesh are mostly young. 

A recent study says 39.9 people commit suicide among every 100,000 people every year.

The suicide rate is higher among males worldwide, but the rate is higher among women in Bangladesh, expecially among young girls.

The study also shows that lack of education, poverty and unhappy marital life are related to suicide while another study shows complications in relationships, financial crisis, disease and family disputes are also reasons for commiting suicide.

There is no specific reason that prompts people to commit suicide, rather it can be said that, the instincts of an individual, mental condition, socio-cultural-economic atmosphere and many other vulnerable situation are responsible for suicide.

When human beings feel isolated they are more prone to commiting suicides, according to renowned socilogist Emile Durkheim.

News of suicide in media

News of suicide published in media often instigate mentally vulnerable individuals. The incidents of suicide increase shortly after the suicide of any celebrity or significant person or release of cinemas or TV plays based on suicide.

Common miscopncepts about suicide

There are some misconception about suicide among people. They say 'those who threatens to commit suicide, actually seek attentions of others', 'a survivor of a suicide sttempt will never repeat it', 'talking about suicide only increase suicidal tendency among people' and 'those who commit suicide never show any signs of commiting it'.  

However, most of those who commit suicide express their feeling to others before doing it. About 40 to 60 per cent of victims attempt suicide more than once and one among every six people attempt suicide for the second time within a year of the first attempt.

Discussing about suicide does not instigate the tendency rather it helps the victim. The victim finds some warmth and emotional support while discussing about it. In most of the cases, the victim shows some signs before committing suicide.

Steps to prevent suicide

There are various complicated factors behind every suicide. Preventing those factors is a big challenge. What we have to give special attention to is:

· Mental health service should be ensured for all. Also, it is possible to reduce the number of suicide by raising awareness, identifying the problems as soon as possible and providing psychological treatment.

· The possible equipment that can be used to commit suicide should be kept away. Medicines should not be provided without prescription and insecticides should be kept beyond reach of vulnerable victims.

· Everyone has to be aware of signs like threats to commit suicide, suicide attempts, depression and creating distance from people or isolation.

· Newspapers and media have to be more careful while publishing such news.

·Initiatives must be taken to build crisis centres and telephone hotline throughout the country.

A suicide is a mere death; it is also a loss to the friends and family of the victim. It is possible to stop suicide if we try by all means.


*Mekhla Sarkar is an associate professor of Psychiatry department in National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital. This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat

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