Suicides never occur due to a single pinpointed cause. They are complex interfaces of physiological, psychological, economic, cultural, and societal factors. Each of them, moreover, inflicts psychological and emotional harm to the deceased’s family, peers and every other counterpart they are attached to, in the relationships of their lives. World Health Organization states that more than 7,00,000 individuals die due to suicide every year, as per a survey conducted in 2019. Something worse than this is the fact that a greater number of individuals attempt suicide every year.
The unfortunate incidents of suicides are not limited to specific regions of the world rather it is found ubiquitously in regions irrespective of the demographics they possess. WHO stated that the suicide rates in the regions of Africa, South-East Asia and Europe are higher than the global average. About the demographic groups that are vulnerable to suicides around the world, more than twice the number of males tend to die by suicide as women.
While the statistics display that 12.6 men die by suicide out of 1,00,000, only 5.4 women die by suicide out of 1,00,000 women. Suicide rates among men and women differ in terms of the economic conditions they belong to. Suicide cases among males are found to be higher when they hail from high-income nations of the world as compared to lower-income nations.
Suicide cases among females, on the other hand, are found to be higher when they hail from lower-middle-income nations of the world. Research have also found that males tend to die due to a serious suicide attempt which represents a minimal intention to live more than female. This, the researchers rationalize could be due to viewing these actions to be more masculine.
Suicide is also concluded to be the 4th leading cause of death among individuals within the age group of 15-29, thus portraying the gravity of the issue faced by the youth of the world. The major 3 causes are, however, tuberculosis, road injuries and interpersonal violence. As mentioned earlier, there is never a single cause that could trigger suicidal thoughts in an individual. They are always caused by the entangled nuances of the prevalent society, culture, mental health, genetics etc that of the individual. Apart from these, there could be situational or environmental triggers that could force the individual to undertake the unfortunate step.
Mental health disorders
Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc are mostly considered a major precursor to attempting suicide. A research from 2020, depicted that major depressive disorder has a suicidality probability of about 15%, whereas anxiety disorders tend to maintain a weak but statistically significant link with suicidal attempts. Bipolar disorder is another major mental health condition that maintains an unavoidable relation with suicidal tendencies. Research has concluded that individuals clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder are 10 to 30 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Post-traumatic stress disorder also becomes a pivotal cause of suicidal tendencies in individuals. PTSD is associated with an elevated probability of suicides.
Bullying continues to be an inadequately addressed issue faced by the youth in today’s world. Bullying can be defined as a type of deliberate action of aggression that could take a verbal or non-verbal form and involves an active power dynamic between the perpetrator and the victim. An extensive review of the literature suggests that there exists a link between suicidal ideation and bullying and that those who are victimized by instances of bullying constantly are at risk of suicide.
Breakups in romantic relationships
Research conducted in 2018 by Heather. A. Love et al., aimed at analyzing whether termination of a romantic relationship or in simple terms, breakups is a sure predictor of suicidal tendencies. The research concluded that greater amounts of deep commitments to a romantic relationship may serve as a cause for suicides.
Literature exhibits that financial troubles like unpaid debts, loans, irregularity in salaries, homelessness, lower incomes, etc can elevate suicidal attempts and ideation in individuals to a greater extent. However, it is important to identify whether financial strain predicts suicide attempts independent of psychiatric history or whether financial strain instead serves as a proxy for underlying mental health issues related to suicide.
Suicide prevention is, factually speaking, a herculean task that involves many nuances and intricacies that must be adequately and accurately taken care of. To prevent this unfortunate incident from occurring first step that one has to undertake as an informed individual is to identify the symptoms portrayed by people who possess suicidal tendencies.
- Loss of appetite and sleeplessness
- Using drugs or alcohol more frequently.
- Taking risks that could be dangerous, such as driving very fast;
- Conversations about death;
- feeling incredibly guilty or ashamed ;
- discussing being a burden to others
- feeling empty, hopeless, trapped, or devoid of purpose in life ;
- experiencing unbearable mental or physical agony;
- creating a plan or looking up ways to pass away;
- withdrawing from friends, bidding farewell, giving away valuables, or creating a will
If one finds that any of the people they know are exhibiting these symptoms, they should immediately check upon them and ensure that they are not alone in whatever they are facing. Since seeking help for mental health is still a stigmatized topic in our societies they should be calmly suggested about either visiting a mental health professional or talking about their tendencies to a trusted elder who they believe would help them move in the right direction. They can also be informed about the service helplines and hotline numbers that tirelessly work every single day to help people reach out for help anonymously.
Suicide Helpline Number: 9152987821 (icall)
Books to Read on Suicide Awareness