Monday, 23 April 2012

Suicide - Are we listening to our loved ones

Suicide: a word which most of us fears, and wants to avoid-hearing or discuss about!!! Webster dictionary defines Suicide as “the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind”. In the recent days there has been news bombarded at us in the media highlighting- Suicide among Students in various parts of the Country. As research suggests Suicide in India is a little high compared to other parts of the world. It has gradually increased over the past two decades from 7.9 to 10.65 per 100000, with quite high rates in Southern India.              

As scary as it may sound: Suicides are a reality in our society right now – especially with the Youth. There are innumerable causes for someone to commit suicide. One of the most important reasons a person is pushed to kill himself is “unbearable emotional pain”. Mental Health issues are not discussed or treated due to the enormous stigma. When an individual struggles with an issue that might be difficult and challenging- they feel ashamed to ask for help. If someone goes beyond that and asks for help – it is trivialized or mocked at - in our communities.                

It is time we look at ourselves honestly and ask some questions about our youngsters - to see reason. The pressure our youngsters are put through to achieve something “Great” starts as early as 2 ½ years and nobody knows when that ends??? A 3 ½ year old child is expected to read, write, recite and memorize!!! Children are told what to do, when to do, and how to do –all the time. There is no time or space to think, analyze or explore. Adolescents have no way of expressing themselves, their emotional needs met, awareness or information to ask for help. Most children are able to adapt to conditioned living, where as some children are not. Sometimes these individuals choose “Suicide” as their only way out!!!                

A couple of questions: what does this mean to us? And how do we make sense of this? It just means there is a huge need in our communities to help our children, adolescents and Young adults to feel supported, safe, and motivated.         

Understanding their unique needs, Counseling & Treatment, creating safe support networks, helping them see a healthy option to deal with life’s’ stressors will help alleviate some of this pressure.                

Recognizing that people who try to or commit suicide are not looking for advice or solutions to their problems, but are asking for support and understanding. Once we understand their needs -we are able to support them. And invariably when a person: young or old - finds someone who understands their unique need-they start to believe that they can survive. It is possible for us to be that one person who listens, Are we listening?

Dr. Kamali. R. SampathKumar., M.B.B.S. (KMC, Mangalore), Dip. In AdTP (Canada) is a Consultant in Behavioural Disorders specializing in Concurrent Disorders at Kauvery Hospital Chennai. She can be contacted at 730588705 / 9952001587.


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