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Suicide: How To Help People In Pain?

Content Warning: Mention of 'suicide'. Please do not read if the theme of the article is triggering for you in any way.

“Hey bhagwaan! Why is your room so messy? You have been doing nothing but sleeping and scrolling on your phone like you’re some prince! You’re not even going to work. Just making excuses about skipping it. I doubt if you’ll ever be able to support us financially in the future if this continues! What are you staring at? Get up and at least please help me with house chores!” says Divik’s mother and leaves the room ranting.

Divik, who had recently joined work, experienced frequent self-doubt. His few friends whom he usually hung out with, got placed in different cities. Soon, they lost touch with each other. He found it hard to make friends at work and was also bullied for his low confidence. He struggled with peer pressure. Back at home, his parents often lectured him on his habits, behaviors or appearance.

Self-doubt grew into Anxiety. Anxiety grew into thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, which took the form of terrible guilt. Guilt transformed into depressive episodes. He started feeling a void developing inside him. He spent more time alone and quietly in his locked room. Due to these negative experiences, he fell into the pit of “I don’t want to live” and once tried ending his life. Fortunately, his mother came back home before it was too late and saved him. Now, Divik is taking therapy from a psychologist, to deal with all this.

After reading the above story, can you point out what factors must have led Divik to consider suicide? As noticed, unhealthy parenting, lack of social support, social connection, etc. can be several push factors to Suicide.

Did you know- India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCBR) recorded a 7.2% spike in suicide cases in 2021 as compared to previous year in the whole country, Maharashtra being the top one?

Depression, suicidal ideations and suicide attempts can not only take a toll on the victim but also on their loved ones. If you know someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-harm attempts or unusual behaviors, here are 6 things you can do:

  1. Be there for them. Show genuine care and affection.

  2. Listen to what they have to say. Ask open ended questions that will help them to elaborate how they are feeling. Do not provide immediate solutions to their problems. Provide solutions only when asked.

  3. Empathize with them by validating their experience- “I can imagine how hard this is for you. I am with you in this.”

  4. Confirm their suicidal thoughts by asking questions like “ Are you thinking of suicide?”/ “Do you have a plan in mind?”/ “Do you have what you need to carry out the plan?” This will provide you facts and help you take immediate safety measures.

  5. Help them seek further therapeutic help by letting them know that it is okay to seek help and that you will be with them throughout their healing journey.

  6. For emergency, you can also share these suicide prevention helpline numbers available in India: AASRA: +91 9820466726, iCALL: +022 25521111 .