Tuesday January 23, 2018

‘Don’t Sensationalize or Glamorize Suicide’ Asserts WHO ; Says Media Can Play a Significant Role in Preventing Suicides

WHO scientists assert that journalists can help overcome this taboo by encouraging people to seek help and to speak openly about their distress

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Suicide
A makeshift memorial for actor Robin Wlliiams is shown outside a home which was used in the filming of the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire", Aug. 15, 2014, in San Francisco. Authorities said Williams committed suicide. (VOA)
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Geneva, September 11, 2017 : The World Health Organization reports about 800,000 people commit suicide every year. To mark this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), WHO is stressing the important role the media can play in stopping people from taking their own lives.

Worldwide, every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life. The World Health Organization reports for every suicide, 20 others, mainly young people, attempt to take their own lives. WHO says suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year olds.

It finds most suicides, more than 78 percent, occur in low-and middle-income countries and risk factors include mental disorders, particularly depression and anxiety resulting from alcohol use.

WHO cites growing evidence that the media can play a significant role in preventing suicide by reporting responsibly on these tragedies.

Scientist in WHO’s department of mental health and substance abuse, Alexandra Fleischmann tells VOA people are often reluctant to talk about suicide because of the stigma attached. She says journalists can help to overcome this taboo by encouraging people to seek help and to speak openly about their distress.

“It is also important to stress that the encouragement to work with the media and not just to talk about the don’ts. Don’t put it in the headlines,” she said. “Don’t put the picture of the person who died. Don’t sensationalize it. Don’t glamorize it.”

WHO warns irresponsible reporting of this sort often can trigger copycat suicides or increase the risk.

The UN health agency reports the most common methods of suicide are self-poisoning with pesticide and firearms. It says many of these deaths could be prevented by restricting access to these means. (VOA)

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Are bullied kids prone to suicidal behaviour?

Children who experienced severe peer victimisation were more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods at age 15, and three times more likely to report anxiety

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Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
  • Children face most severe levels of victimization from the beginning of their schooling.
  • These kids develop significant symptoms of suicidal behaviour and anxiety.
  • Even after the victimization ends, it affects still pertains.

A study found that children who face bullying can be at a risk of developing mental health issues, suicidal thoughts and anxiety in their years. For the study, the team looked at 1,363 children who were followed until the age of 15 years.

About 59 percent of participants had experienced some peer victimisation in the first years of elementary school, although it generally declined as the children grew older.

“Our findings showed a general tendency, in about 15 percent of the children, of being exposed to the most severe levels of victimisation from the beginning of their education until the transition to high school,” said Marie-Claude Geoffroy, from the McGill University in Canada.

Also Read: Anxiety and depression genetic, says research

Even though victimization can end after school days, its affect still pertains. Pixabay
Even though victimization can end after school days, its affect still pertains. Pixabay

Findings

  • Children who experienced severe peer victimisation were more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods at age 15, and three times more likely to report anxiety.
  • This group of children were also 3.5 times more likely to report serious suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.

“Those children were at greater risk of debilitating depressive/dysthymic symptoms or anxiety and of suicidality in adolescence than less severely victimised children, even after we accounted for a plethora of confounders assessed throughout childhood,” Geoffroy added.

Also read: List of 8 Food Items to Battle Depression and Anxiety

“Although peer victimisation starts to decrease by the end of childhood, individuals in the severe trajectory group were still being exposed to the highest level of victimisation in early adolescence,” Geoffroy noted.

Severe peer victimisation may contribute to the development of mental health problems in adolescence, thus, it is important to prevent victimisation early in the lifespan, the results suggest.

The study was published in journal CMAJ. (IANS)