Wednesday July 17, 2019

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

Next Story

Novel AI Tool to Detect Depression Via Sound of Your Voice

Such a tool could prove useful to support work with care providers or to help individuals reflect on their own moods over time

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Neighborhoods
Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the teenagers. Pixabay

India — the sixth most depressed country in the world — has an estimated 56 million people suffering from depression and 38 million from anxiety disorders, according to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

To help identify depression early, scientists have now enhanced a technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to sift through sound of your voice to gauge whether you are depressed or not.

Computing science researchers from University of Alberta in Canada have improved technology for identifying depression through vocal cues.

The study, conducted by Mashrura Tasnim and Professor Eleni Stroulia, builds on past research that suggests that the timbre of our voice contains information about our mood.

Using standard benchmark data sets, Tasnim and Stroulia developed a methodology that combines several Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to recognize depression more accurately using acoustic cues.

A realistic scenario is to have people use an app that will collect voice samples as they speak naturally.

artificial intelligence, nobel prize
“Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society.” VOA

“The app, running on the user’s phone, will recognize and track indicators of mood, such as depression, over time. Much like you have a step counter on your phone, you could have a depression indicator based on your voice as you use the phone,” said Stroulia.

Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability. It is also the major contributor to suicide deaths.

The ultimate goal, said researchers, is to develop meaningful applications from this technology.

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Such a tool could prove useful to support work with care providers or to help individuals reflect on their own moods over time.

“This work, developing more accurate detection in standard benchmark data sets, is the first step,” added Stroulia while presenting the paper at the Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence recently. (IANS)