Suicide is Preventable: Alarming Effects of Self-harm on Families, Communities, Societies

There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide

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Deliberate self harm
Feelings of helplessness, stemming from a variety of social and cultural factors can force an adolescent to indulge in self-harm. Pixabay
  • September 10 is observed as World Suicide Precention Day
  • Every year some 800,000 people die as a result of suicide
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds
  • Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined
  • There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide

Sept 11, 2016:

Dorothy Paugh was nine when her father took his life. “I count that day as the last day of my childhood. Because from that moment on, I had no sense of security. I had no sense that the world was a safe place,” she said.

Her father was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a place of repose for presidents and military heroes. Paugh’s father served bravely in World War II. After his death, the White House sent a letter from “a grateful nation” that her mother hung prominently on the wall by the front door. Paugh says her mother wanted her children to remember their father as a war hero, and not to focus how he died. But, they never spoke about his death. Paugh said it was a special type of isolation.

Suicide is committed every year by the poor as well as the rich people.World Health Organization says about 75 percent of suicides happen in low and middle-income countries, where it was the second leading cause of death in 2012, the last year for which the WHO has statistics. In that year, it was the 15th leading cause of death worldwide. Young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are particularly vulnerable.

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There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.

494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.

Suicide is preventable

But medical experts say suicide is preventable, and they try to draw attention to that on World Suicide Prevention Day, which this year is September 10. Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.

Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America, compares suicide to the end stage of cancer, a terminal point in mental illness or disease.Gionfriddo said, “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.”

The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.

On its web page, the World Health Organization notes that “early identification and treatment of depression and alcohol use disorders are key for the prevention of suicide…as well as follow-up contact with those who have attempted suicide, and psychosocial support in communities.” Experts also say people need to change the notion that those who commit suicide are cowards.Paugh says she thinks her father got overwhelmed. “He was no coward. He fought in World War II.”

Guns and suicide

The WHO urges countries to reduce access to the means of suicide. Statistics show having access to a firearm increases the risk of suicide, and in fact, in the U.S., half of all suicides are committed with a gun. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said there are ways to change that statistic. “We can make the firearm safer. We can make people safer with their firearms, and then we can make the environment itself safer.”

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Paugh’s son Peter bought a gun, to go target shooting and for protection. Then her life was shaken once more. “I lost my son in 2012,” she said. Peter was 25 years old when he shot himself.

Paugh often carries her favorite picture of her son. “It’s so understated, but he has piercing blue eyes. He’s paying attention. He’s looking at the world with love, I think.” And he has a hint of a smile on his handsome, young face.

One death every 40 seconds

Every year some 800,000 people die as a result of suicide. The World Health Organization says this translates to one death every 40 seconds. Beyond this, suicide impact families, societies, and communities.

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

The shock of the suicide deaths of her father and her son inspired her to become a suicide prevention advocate. “If we think someone may be troubled, ask them outright if they are having thoughts of suicide. 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.” (VOA)

  • Karen Ercolani

    Suicide is not such a bad thing.

    :

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    ‘One death every 40 seconds’ Yet the help provided and the sensitisation is so less

  • Manthra koliyer

    People who attempt suicide are a threat to the society

  • Enakshi

    Suicide is no solution to ones problems, thank god its preventable now

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Youngsters With Mild or Moderate Mental Distress at High Suicide Risk: Researchers

Young people with even mild mental distress can become suicidal

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Measures to reduce suicide risk in youngsters should focus on the whole population, not just those who are most unwell. Pixabay

The vast majority of young people who self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts appear to have only mild or moderate mental distress, according to researchers.

Measures to reduce suicide risk in young people should focus on the whole population, not just those who are most distressed, depressed or anxious, said Cambridge University researchers during Mental Health Awareness week.

“It appears that self-harm and suicidal thinking among young people dramatically increases well within the normal or non-clinical range of mental distress,” said study senior author Peter Jones from Cambridge University in the UK.

The findings, published in the BMJ Open, show that public policy strategies to reduce suicide should support better mental health for all young people, not only those who are most unwell.

hopelessness distress
Youngsters who self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts appear to have only mild or moderate mental distress. Pixabay

Previous studies have suggested that a broad range of mental health problems like depression anxiety, and low self-esteem can be measured together as levels of common mental distress (CMD).

In the current study, the research team used a series of questionnaires to analyse common mental distress in two large groups of young people between the ages of 14 and 24.

They also collected self-reported data on suicidal thinking and non-suicidal self-injury, both predictive markers for increased risk of suicide.

CMD scores increase in three significant increments above the population average: mild mental distress, followed by moderate, and finally severe distress and beyond – which often manifests as a diagnosable mental health disorder.

The findings showed that those with severe mental distress came out highest for risk of suicide.

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The findings showed that those with severe mental distress came out highest for risk of suicide. Pixabay

However, the majority of all participants experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harming – 78 per cent and 76 per cent respectively in the first sample, 66 per cent and 71 per cent in the second-ranked as having either mild or moderate levels of mental distress.

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“It is well known that for many physical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, small improvements in the risks of the overall population translate into more lives saved, rather than focusing only on those at extremely high risk,” said Jones.

“This is called the ‘prevention paradox’, and we believe our study is the first evidence that mental health could be viewed in the same way. We need both public health and a clinical approach to suicide risk,” the researchers noted.

Meanwhile, a recent study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that COVID-19 pandemic may cause serious physical and mental health problems. (IANS)

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64% Deaths in Males, 36% in Females: Covid-19 Death Analysis

Health Ministry reveals that there are 64% males among COVID-19 fatalities

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There are said to be 64 per cent deaths in males and 36 per cent in females, according to an analysis of COVID deaths in India. Pixabay

There are at least 64 per cent deaths in males and 36 per cent in females, revealed an analysis of COVID deaths in India, a Health Ministry document said on Thursday.

The analysis further indicated that, in terms of age distribution, 0.5 per cent deaths are reported in less than 15 years of age group, 2.5 per cent in 15-30 years age group, 11.4 per cent in 30-45 years age group, 35.1 per cent in 45-60 years age group and 50.5 per cent in people above 60 years of age.

Further, 73 per cent of the death cases had underlying co-morbidities. Elderly people (above 60 years of age) and people having co-morbidities are identified as high risk groups for COVID-19.

According to the Union Health Ministry data, at least 3,435 individuals so far have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in India.

medical Analysis
The analysis revealed that 35.1 per cent deaths are reported in 45-60 years age group. Pixabay

The Health Ministry stated that the case mortality rate in India is 3.06 per cent, as against the global average of 6.65 per cent. The ministry attributed the outcome to its efforts towards timely case identification and proper clinical management of the cases.

India currently has 63,624 cases under active medical supervision. Of these, approximately 2.94 per cent cases are in the ICU, said the Health Ministry.

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“A total of 45,299 patients are cured of COVID-19. A total of 3,002 COVID-19 patients have been reported cured in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate is improving continuously and is 40.32 per cent presently,” it added.

In addition, it advised that community awareness, personal hygiene, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and environmental sanitation are the most important tools to combat COVID-19.

“Face covers and masks should be used in public places and physical distancing should be followed. Large gatherings should be avoided. Individuals in high risk groups should stay at home except for essential and health purposes,” said the Health Ministry. (IANS)

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Stress Cleaning is A Real Thing

Stress cleaning is a real thing, it can be destructive or productive subjectively

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Stress Cleaning
Stress Cleaning can be good or bad, know more about it. Pixabay

Picking up cleaning equipment and getting down to clear clutter around oneself could be one possible way to cope with stress. Many health opinions suggest stress cleaning is an actual issue many people worldwide face. But, what really is stress cleaning?

“The act of cleaning, if done within limits, can bring an added benefit of exercise, which can be great for relieving stress, so called ‘stress-cleaning’. Response to stress can be subjective, for example, some people can comfort eat or exercise or some may resort to cleaning as a way of stress-busting”, states Dr Santosh Bangar, Consultant Psychiatrist, Global Hospital, Mumbai told IANSlife.

A cluttered house can lead to negative emotions like irritability, tension, worry, whereas a clean space is more likely to be linked to positive emotions like feeling happy, calm and a sense of wellbeing. People can experience a feeling of achievement or pride, enhanced self-esteem after a cleaning-up session.

What causes it?

Our brain responds to stress with a fight or flight reaction by the amygdala, which is associated with facilitating emotions like fear or anxiety. Another brain area called the prefrontal cortex regulating emotions gets deactivated and works less. So, while the stress is getting triggered, the system supposed to keep it in check is slowing down!

Stress
Stress Cleaning can be a real issue in lockdown. Pixabay

Why it could be good and bad?

The response to stress is subjective, as some people can respond well to stress or even thrive (healthy stress), while other people’s emotions can be excessive leading to a full blown panic attack, characterised by shaking of body, dryness of mouth, sweating, palpitations, rapid breathing, feeling of impending doom. If excessive stress goes undetected or untreated, it may have number of physical and mental health complications.

Depression, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, substance misuse, sleep disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and suicide in extreme cases are known complications of untreated and persistent stress. Stress cleaning can worsen or induce OCD, Dr Bangar says.

The physical health complications include, impaired blood sugar or diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension, heart attack, impaired fat levels and uncommonly various forms of cancers.

Also Read: Young Indians Are At An Evergrowing Risk Of Hypertension

Stress management:

Various forms of relaxation techniques are useful in dealing with stress, one such being ‘stress-cleaning’ or ‘stress-baking’ during periods of social isolation or lockdown. Others can be meditation, for example, mindfulness, yoga or deep breathing exercise. Listening to soothing music, taking regular exercise are other ways of managing stress at home. Reduce caffeine, smoking and alcohol intake, getting a refreshing sleep and eating a balanced diet can go long way to reduce stress. Of course, if these measures are not enough, then one must seek specialist professional help at the earliest. (IANS)