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Talking about Suicide: Preventing Suicide during COVID 19 lockdown

World Health Organization (WHO) has reported close to 800000 people die by suicide every year. And it’s not just that, every individual at least go through 20 suicide attempts. Suicide and suicide attempts cause distress within the individuals who are attempting suicide, with their family, friends, colleagues and the communities the individual belong with.

Suicide is preventable!

Each and every one has a crucial role to play in this society and one of the main responsibility that we carry out is to look out for ourselves and the people with whom we are surrounded in this society. Everyone has their own life and have their own needs to take care of, but does not take too much time to check up on people we love once in a while to see how they are doing.

People who have suicidal instincts don’t always openly tell or share those thoughts to anyone but we can have our suspicions based on how they function in their daily routine and with symptoms they display through their behavior.

The most common symptoms to find out if your loved one is thinking about suicide are:

  • Even though they don’t openly talk about suicide, they tend to make self-blaming statements such as “I wish I was not born” or “I wish I was dead”

  • They can exhibit psycho-somatic symptoms such as experiencing bodily pain even if there are no medical explanations for their pain. The pain is often caused by the psychological stress the person is suffering from internally.

  • They might withdraw from social situations, preferring to be alone.

  • Watch out for things they enjoyed doing in the past. You might notice the lack of interests in them to pursue the tasks they enjoyed doing it in the past.

  • They might have an increase dependency of alcohol and drug use.

  • Watch out for their personality changes. For example, you might comment saying that “he was such a jolly and outgoing person, but now, he always appears sad and distant”.

Like I have mentioned in my previous articles:

Building Positive Coping Strategies While Dealing with COVID 19:

Domestic Violence During COVID 19 Lockdown:

COVID 19 lockdown can be stressful due to various physical, psychological, economic and financial pressures. The pressure can be so intense that it might lead for an individual attempt suicide. According to the data comprised by the public interest technologist Thejesh GN and activist Kanika Sharma, there have been over 300 deaths due in India due to suicide. The causes for the deaths are:

  • Battling loneliness

  • Fear of being tested positive for Corona Virus

  • Deaths associated with withdrawal symptoms- this is noticed especially in metropolitan cities such as Bangalore/Deli/Mumbai due to lack of access to alcohol or drugs.

  • Dealing with starvation

  • Financial Stress- Unemployment/ No sufficient income

  • Lockdown related crimes- Family Violence

The date also has highlighted that these are only the reported numbers and that there was the possibility of suicides that were not reported.

If you are feeling suicidal:

  • Try connecting with your loved ones and talk to them about how you feel.

  • If you do not feel like talking to people you know, call an organization anonymously and share with them about your situation.

  • If you are from India, SNEHA Foundation in Chennai offers telephonic sessions between 10am – 2pm on all days. You can call them on this number: +914424640050

  • If you from other countries, please contact the organization in your country that works specifically for suicide prevention.

  • Fight your thoughts- try changing your negative thoughts to positive ones. To be honest, I know it is easy for me to just say but please try. Take book or use your computer which ever you are comfortable with- when you have negative thought write them down and consciously change them into a different positive alternative.

  • Try thinking of something calm and relaxing. You can go through pictures of your favorite memories or you can imagine being in your favorite destination.

  • Do things you enjoy doing- TV, prepare meals, staying active, watching funny videos.

  • It can be anything that makes you feel good.

“If you are that depressed, reach out to someone. And Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”- Robin Williams, Actor.

Preventing suicide is everyone’s responsibility. So if you know someone who is exhibiting suicidal symptoms, what can you do?

  • Try talking to them on a regular basis, Check up on their well-being often.

  • Involve in the activities they are willing to do. Try to make them feel loved, cared and important.

  • If they want to openly talk to you, just listen to them without judgement. Don’t give any advice or suggestions. They want you to be just there listening to them.

  • Try helping them in finding out organizations that can help them cope with their suicidal thoughts.

Like I have stated it in the picture, as a professional you can always reach out to me. I can help to the best I can and if I cannot, I will take the responsibility of referring you to someone else.

Thank you for reading this article!

Please share your thoughts on the comments section below!

“StayStrong” “SuicidePrevention” “BelieveinYourself” “ThisTooShallPass”

Written by Veena Vibhushini Varun Prasath (Child & Adolescent Psychologist, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Colombo, Western, Sri Lanka)

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