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Suicides Can Be Prevented, Says Expert Through Government Policies

Each year, some 800,000 people worldwide die as a result of suicide

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Suicide, Life expectancy
Dorothy Paugh, a suicide prevention advocate, lost her father and her son to suicide. VOA

More people are committing suicide than ever before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports, but suicide isn’t uniquely an American issue. The World Health Organization estimates that every 40 seconds, someone in the world ends his or her life.

Experts say the key to preventing suicide is to get help early and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

Dorothy Paugh was 9 years old when her father took his life.

“I count that day as the last day of my childhood,” she said, “because from that moment on, I had no sense of security.”

Paugh’s father is buried at Arlington Cemetery, a place reserved for war heroes.

“It’s important to me that people not label those who die by suicide as cowards,” she said, “because my father was brave. He fought in World War II and … I think he just got overwhelmed.”

Nearly 50 years later, Dorothy Paugh’s life was shaken again by yet another suicide.

“I lost my son in 2012,” she said.

Hopeless
Hopeless, Pixabay

“This is my favorite picture of Peter because he has a hint of a smile. It’s so understated, but he has piercing blue eyes. He’s paying attention. He’s looking at the world with love, I think.”

Each year, some 800,000 people worldwide die as a result of suicide — and that number does not include the countless others who attempt it. The World Health Organization says this translates to one self-inflicted death every 40 seconds. But the impact on families, societies and communities is far greater.

“The ripple effect is enormous,” Paugh said. My son’s “brothers, his girlfriend, myself, his father. It’s a shock that takes years to recover … to find footing again.”

Yet, experts say suicide can be prevented if governments create policies to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, make guns safer, reduce the stigma of suicide, and provide support for those suffering from depression and diseases that cause depression.

Paul Gionfrieddo, who heads Mental Health America, became an advocate for early treatment when his son developed a mental illness.

“Suicide is the ultimate stage four event for a lot of people who have serious mental illnesses and, frankly, it’s the ultimate stage four, late-stage event for a lot of people with other kinds of chronic diseases as well, too, who might not have had a mental illness,” Gionfrieddo said.

Because of her experience, Paugh became an advocate for suicide prevention.

“If we think someone may be troubled, ask them outright if they are having thoughts of suicide,” Paugh said. “It’s not a comfortable conversation, but it’s a lot more comfortable than a funeral. That’s my hope and my purpose in speaking about suicide — so people know it is preventable.”

Hanging rope
Hanging rope, Pixabay

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Mental health experts say mental health screening would help people get into treatment before their depression becomes severe. Other recommendations include reducing the social stigma associated with mental illness and making treatment more widely available. (VOA)

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According to NCRB Report, Suicide Rates in India Saw a Decline in 2016 with 10.3%

As per the report, the rate of accidental deaths (per lakh of population) has remained unchanged at 32.8 per cent in 2016

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Suicide
The Suicide rate in cities in 2016 was 13 per cent as compared to the all-India suicide rate of 10.3 per cent. Pixabay

The all-India suicide rate per lakh population saw a decline in 2016 with 10.3 per cent Suicide cases reported compared to the 10.6 per cent lodged in 2015, the annual ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India’ (ADSI) data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) said.

The major causes of suicides are due to family problems not related to marriage (29.2 per cent) and ‘illness’ (17.1 per cent), marriage related issues (5.3 per cent) and drug abuse or alcohol addiction (4 per cent), said the ADSI-2016 report furnished by 36 states and Union Territories (UTs) and 53 Metropolitan Cities (which have a population of 1 million or 10 lakh or more as per the population Census, 2011) by State Crime Records Bureaus and Crime Investigation Departments.

The suicide rate in cities in 2016 was 13 per cent as compared to the all-India suicide rate of 10.3 per cent.

As per the report, the rate of accidental deaths (per lakh of population) has remained unchanged at 32.8 per cent in 2016.

A total of 8,684 deaths occurred in the country due to causes attributable to forces of nature during 2016. Of these accidental deaths, 38.2 per cent deaths occurred due to ‘Lightning’, 15.4 per cent deaths due to ‘Heat or Sun Stroke’ and 8.9 per cent deaths due to ‘Flood’.

Suicide
The major causes of Suicide Cases are due to family problems not related to marriage (29.2 per cent) and ‘illness’ (17.1 per cent), marriage related issues (5.3 per cent) and drug abuse or alcohol addiction (4 per cent). Pixabay

A total of 4,09,537 persons died in accidental deaths due to ‘Other Causes’ (not attributable to nature) during 2016. The major causes of accidental deaths were ‘Traffic Accidents’ (43.4 per cent), ‘Sudden Deaths’ (10.2 per cent), ‘Drowning’ (7.3 per cent), ‘Poisoning’ (5.6 per cent), ‘Falls’ (4.2 per cent) and ‘Accidental Fire’ (4.1 per cent).

While releasing the data, the NCRB clarified that it only compiles and collates the information and presents it in the form of this report. The NCRB is not responsible for the authenticity of the information, as data is being furnished by states and UTs.

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It said that the data collection for ADSI-2017 and 2018 reports was initiated in July this year and the reports are planned to be released by December 31. (IANS)