Mangaluru diocese’s suicide prevention awareness campaign to kick-off on Mar 1


Dr Lavina M Noronha and Usha Rao

Mangaluru, Feb 24: The diocese of Mangaluru has taken a bold step towards affirming and preserving life this year, and, as part of the Lenten spirituality, the ‘Laudado Si’ Committee has planned a campaign against suicide.

As a community we have swept this volatile issue under the rug for way too long. Now, the time has come to break the stigma and acknowledge that suicide is a real problem that needs attention. On March 1, the first Sunday of Lent, the campaign against suicide will be launched in all the parishes in the Mangaluru diocese.

The parish priests have been asked to join hands in the efforts to find ways and means to prevent premature and untimely deaths due to suicide.

Details of the campaign

Catholic diocese of Mangaluru, under its bishop, Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, has been serving the society with unique campaigns. Through Laudato Si campaign, saplings will be planted in 124 parishes, spread out in Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts on a regular basis every year and monitored through church administrative structures. This year has been proclaimed as 'Year of Life-2020' in Mangaluru diocese with the tagline - 'Human life is precious, care and protect it'.

On the occasion of Year of Life, Laudato Si committee of Mangaluru diocese has organized a campaign against suicide, on March 1 in all the parishes of Mangaluru diocese. The unique campaign is organized as below:

1. Sunday Mass and prayers: On March 1, holy Mass will be offered, with relevant homily and prayers in all the churches of Mangaluru diocese, spread out Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod districts.

2. Pledge: All the people take a pledge that they will face any life threatening situation bravely rather than thinking of suicide cowardly. The people also pledge to help the person who has suicidal tendencies to overcome the negative thoughts by accompaniment, giving positive strokes and arranging counseling as for as possible.

3. Handbills: Over 1 lac handbills are printed containing information in English and Kannada about educating and helping people to protect Human life. They will be distributed to all the people on that day to create awareness about the campaign.

4. Seminars and workshops: A call is given to all the parishes to organize seminars/workshop, awareness programmes on the issue in parish level and involve people of all religions. A team of 50 resource persons who are qualified in this field are ready to conduct the programmes.

5. Helpline support: The organizers of the campaign are provided with existing Toll Free Helpline Number to prevent suicide. People with the tendencies can call 0824-2983444 (24x7) to prevent it.

6. Yellow ribbon: Over a lac yellow ribbons will be distributed by the committee. All those who are joining in the campaign will be wearing a Yellow Ribbon on the dress provided by the organizers on 2nd March 2020 during the whole day, wherever they are to create awareness against suicide.

7. Happy Face Photo Contest: To attract the youth and others a ‘Happy Face Photo contest’ is organized for the public. Any person above 12 years of age can participate in this contest by sending a Bust size photo (Face only) either a selfie or photograph of oneself to this WhatsApp Number 7090449999 before 30-04-2020. Best and happiest face of a man and a woman will be awarded with Rs 10,000 each. The results will be announced before 15 May 2020.

8. Publicity in media: A call is given to use media platforms to create awareness about the issues connected to the campaign in the respective parish limits.

A humanitarian crisis

In the last two decades, there has been an alarming increase in the number of suicides and suicide attempts all over the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 8,00,000 people worldwide die due to suicide every year, which means every 40 seconds there is one death by suicide! What is more disturbing is that 17% of these are from India. Globally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds next to accidents. India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15-29 (35.5 per 100,000 population).

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data recorded that 26,085 persons who were unemployed and self employed committed suicide in the year 2018. Thirty five unemployed and thirty six self-employed persons killed themselves every day (NCRB, 2019). For every death by suicide in India there are more than 15 suicide attempts. This pandemic rise in suicides and suicide attempts definitely makes it a humanitarian crisis warranting immediate attention and intervention.

Suicide myths and facts

1. Suicidal people want to die.

No. Most people are ambivalent and often fluctuate between wanting to live and wanting to die.

2. Asking about suicidal thoughts or plan might encourage a suicide attempt.

Not true. In fact, your concern is likely to lower anxiety and reduce the likelihood of self harm.

3. People who talk about killing themselves rarely commit suicide.

No. Most people who have committed suicide have given some signal of their intention prior to their death. You cannot take any communication about self harm lightly.

4. People who talk about suicide when under the influence of alcohol or drugs don’t have to be taken seriously.

No. Everyone who talks about suicide should be taken seriously. Alcohol and other drugs often cloud the reasoning capacity of a person and the person is more likely to make rash decisions when under the influence of these substances.

5. Suicide attempts are just attention-seeking and they are just acting out.

No. Many people who attempt suicide eventually complete it. The attempt may be a rehearsal. Also, a suicide attempt may very well be a cry for help from someone in profound distress, and this should not be ignored. Timely professional attention will help save lives.

6. Suicide only affects certain sorts of people.

Not at all! Anyone may be vulnerable when confronting difficult circumstances or when experiencing emotional distress or hopelessness. Even strong people may become vulnerable at some point in their lives and resort to self-destruction.

7. When someone seems to be suicidal, someone else is probably taking care of it. It is not my business to interfere.

Suicide is a community responsibility. Any concerned person can make a difference. Many distraught people do not have networks of support. As a classmate, friend, family member, roommate or a neighbour you too can help identify someone in distress and help them to be safe.

The suicide continuum

Suicide is the end point of a long process which usually begins with a fleeting thought. Given below are some terms used to denote levels of suicidal behaviour.

Suicidal Ideation means thoughts of harming oneself or wanting to end one’s life. These thoughts can be occasional or frequent. For example, ‘Life is not worth living’, ‘Death is better than life’ etc. The good news is that most people are able to brush these thoughts aside and not act on them.

Suicidal plan refers to a series of actions taken by one who is considering his or her own death. Plan is more specific. For example, “on Thursday I would like to jump into the pond.”

A suicide attempt usually means unsuccessful implementation of the plan. The person tried to kill himself or herself but did not succeed.

Suicide or completed suicide refers action taken to cause one’s own death. In other words, it is successful implementation of the plan to kill oneself.

Suicide Lifeline of Mangaluru: (0824) 2983444

A survey on mental health and well-being of 1016 students between the ages of 14-25 years conducted in Mangaluru in March 2017 indicated that 4.52% of the students had attempted suicide in the past 6months and 6.9% had suicidal thoughts. These shocking findings were an eye-opener for the educational institutions as well as concerned citizens of Mangaluru and lifeline of support to combat suicidal crisis became the need of the hour. Thus relentless and collective efforts led to the launching of Mangaluru Suicide Lifeline as a Unit of Susheg Charitable Trust in October, 2017. Armed with 2 operators and 30 volunteers trained in psychological first aid and crisis intervention, the lifeline is open 24x7 and has responded to more than 900 distress calls thus far.

If you or someone you know is in distress, please do not hesitate to call (084 2983444 any time of day or night. Those interested in receiving training as lifeline volunteers may send an email to susheglifeline@gmail.com. Training team consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, social workers and lawyers.

Recognise the signs of possible suicide risk

Talking about killing themselves: This might seem obvious, but is often ignored. Some talk about suicide or the methods they might use to kill themselves just before their attempt. Death becomes focus not only conversations but in art, writings, music and so on. People who are suicidal often talk about death a lot.

Saying goodbye: People who are suicidal often say good-bye in strange ways. They might talk in terms of “not seeing me around anymore” or “no one would notice if I die”. They are hinting in the hopes that someone will stop them.

Tying loose ends: Suicidal people often give away personal possessions, make arrangements for the care of children or pets, make wills, or other acts as if they are preparing to end their life.

Becoming violent: Some people become very violent or aggressive when they are suicidal. Watch out for a sudden change in behaviour.

Sudden isolation: People who are considering suicide may suddenly isolate themselves from friends and family. When no one investigates, it can reinforce the idea that no one cares.

Sudden changes in behaviour: When people are suicidal they may have sudden behaviour changes in eating, hygiene, sleeping, or activities previously enjoyed. Sleep disturbance is often a sign of mental turmoil.

Drug and alcohol use: Substance use and depression are a nasty combination. Many substances like alcohol are depressants and will make a person feel much worse. Sometimes people try to self-medicate their depression through substance use, but that won’t work. Also, drugs and alcohol can lower inhibitions, increasing the risk of sudden violence.

Low self esteem: People feeling suicidal express being a burden, feeling worthless, having shame, overwhelming guilt, or self-hatred,.“Everyone would be better off without me.”

No hope for future: People feeling suicidal often say that things will never get better and that nothing will ever change or their problem is unsolvable.

And finally remember, the risk of suicide may sometimes be higher for a very depressed person once the depression lifts because the person may have more energy to carry out their planned act.

How can you help?

Do not be afraid to ask

Often people who feel suicidal give clues about their intentions, because they are afraid to talk about their feelings. When no one picks up these clues, it further reinforces the idea that suicide is not a topic they can talk about with friends or family. If you sense that someone is suicidal, you need the courage to start the conversation. People are often afraid to start this conversation because they fear they will say the wrong thing. The only wrong answer is ignoring the situation.

Let the person talk

In most cases, talking is good. If the suicidal person is talking out their problems, they are not harming themselves. Listen without judgment and do not try to make the suicidal person feel guilty. Suicide happens when there is too much pain for someone to tolerate. Think of the people you would turn to if you were in a crisis and act as you would want them to act. Ask direct questions about the person’s suicide method and plan. The more well thought out the method and plan, the more dangerous the situation.

Safety comes first

If the person has already completed an act of harm, before talking out problems, do not waste time. For instance, a person may have taken an overdose of pills, and then calls you on the phone to talk. In such situations, you need to call for help- police (100) or ambulance (108) or drive them to the nearest hospital.

Remove the method of harm

In some cases, you can reduce the risk of suicide, by removing the method of harm (guns, pills, sharps, keys to the car, etc.) from the person’s immediate surroundings.

Do not leave them alone

Usually, suicide is a solitary act. People tend to do it when they are alone. Having someone stay with them until the crisis passes can make all the difference. It also reassures the person that someone truly cares.

Get help

There are many mental health professionals, hospitals in our community that can help. Make sure that they receive appropriate help they need.

Join hands in the fight against suicide!

• Parents, teachers, school administrators, health care professionals, mental health professionals, the clergy, police, fire fighters need to join hands in sensitizing the community. Suicide is not just an individual problem it is a family and a community problem. The emotional pain experienced by those left behind by death of a loved one does not go away easily.

• The decriminalization of suicide in India in 2017 has led to an improvement in reporting suicidal deaths and attempts but even to this day we do have accurate statistics on suicide which makes it difficult to fathom the gravity of the situation. Most suicides are reported as accidents and suicide attempts go unreported due to associated shame and guilt. Additionally, some ill-informed people continue to consider suicide as an act of cowardice and fail to respond to the pain behind such fatal decisions.

• The stigma associated with mental illness and self-destructive behaviours deter people of seeking help or treatment. Public education campaigns as well as professional training is needed to educate about the signs and symptoms of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour and how and when to intervene.

• Creating awareness on how to listen to someone who is thinking of self-harm in a non-judgemental manner, how to persuade them to seek professional help and how to ensure safety of the person will go a long way in helping people be more vigilant.

• Finally, we have to be realistic in acknowledging the fact that as a society, we may not be able to eliminate all the risk factors of suicide but we can play our part in understanding that suicide is preventable.

Life is precious. Together, we can all make a difference, one life at a time!

 

  

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Comment on this article

  • Ina Carmelita D'Souza, Mangalore

    Tue, Feb 25 2020

    "I wish you may all learn to look at life from above, from the perspective of heaven, to see things from God's eye, through the prism of the Gospel."
    Pope Francis on 24 Feb. 2020

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • myna, mysuru

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Good initiative to be followed by all religious leaders. It is the need of the hour for the young and old alike who are into depression.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ina Carmelita D'Souza, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    First I offer prayers for all those souls died of suicide.
    Prayers also for those who fail to know the gift of life.
    As the wine and water mingle together to become blood of Christ may these souls are transformed into the living witness for Christ. Amen!!!

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    It is an excellent initiative on the Diocesan Authorities to commence a campaign to prevent suicides.

    This move is being taken at the right time when one hears of so many suicide cases. It is even a good idea to have counselling sessions at all important Parishes.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • NFS Rodrigues, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Great initiative.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Johnson, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Noble cause by the diocese. Let us reach out every one from all communities and faith.
    In northern part of karnataka poor farmers commit suicide because they are unable to repay mere Rs.10000 loan .They are help less if it doesn't rain.
    A girl or boy being blackmailed by know people.
    A student fails in studies
    Enterpreuner face unexpected loses beyond his capacity.
    Life threatening disease shatter a person
    Cheating by his/her spouse
    Disability due to accident
    Incidents mentioned above and much more many encountered by the people around us.
    Firstly let us be kind to your family,friends,relatives,neighbours,colleagues,people who are part of our day to day life .Then only someone will open up during distress. We may save few souls and comfort thousands.

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dan M, Dubai / Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Good initiative from the diocese.

    It is also worthwhile to have in mind what are the additional causes and handy options available to overcome.

    Holy Bible says in John 10:10 - The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.


    Who is the thief or Satan - One's own thoughts of lust, pride, hatred, anger, envy, stubbornness, jealousy... One use or act on them for temporary satisfaction or gain and then looses peace, falls into depression, hopelessness, in anxieties and sometimes acts further to destroy self or others. Instead of leaving the situation in God's hand, saying or thinking, Thy will be done in most of the cases one does his own will and falls into trouble.

    How to overcome,

    Temptations come naturally but self control in thoughts, acts deeds very much required.

    Regarding,

    Freedom Vs Slavery (heaven and hell) in the eyes of God


    Love, joy, peace, self-control, patience, gentleness, kindness, humility, godliness, holiness, charity, justice, mercy, heaven, freedom... comes from God.

    Lust, pride, anger, envy, hatred, jealousy, selfishness, greed, gluttony, addictions, attachments, Terror, destroying good, injustice, harassment, hell, slavery... comes from evil.

    Also,

    Faith, hope, trust and unity for good... comes from God.

    Fear, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, lack of trust, disunity... comes from evil.

    It is that simple for every man and woman to choose either heaven or hell.

    To overcome any evil or negativity,

    One need to self check their thoughts and correct oneself.

    Or simply continuously love the thoughts as and when they come to surrender those negative thoughts to God, as God is Love, to gradually overcome them. All four mysteries Rosary available online is a powerful remedy specially against hopelessness, depression and anxieties to be prayed from the heart.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Valerian Dsouza, Udupi / Mumbai

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Hats off to Mangaluru diocese suicide prevention awareness campaign.
    As many people have been committing suicides for reasons best known to them,
    It was high time to bring such awareness for saving valuable lives and to encourage people to face challenges in life and live a natural life.
    Such awareness may save many lives!

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent D'sa, Shankerpura/Dubai.

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Suicides happen primarily due to three main reasons. 1. Lack of awareness about the problem itself. 2 Uncontrolled anxiety about the problem and general anxiety. 3. Rotten psychological environment in the support system.
    I have witnessed a few persons closely known to me committing suicide. Suicides are bound to happen and increase drastically in the coming days. The primary reason being is those cry after the incident hardly come to rescue when the person is struggling.
    Being a counselor I take depressed people coming for advice to see/visualise the highest point of impact of their problem during counseling and from that point I make them to climb down the stair. Almost all the patients see their problem with magnified glasses. At this highest “torture point”, I make them realize and believe that the individual has the capacity to deal with the problem effectively. This is the point where the individual gets the highest relief! Then slowly I train them to work back.
    I keep regular touch with them for a reasonable period until they stabilize and regain lost ground because in most of the cases support system itself fuels the extreme anxiety leading to suicide.
    The belief that I have the resources to deal with the problem and can handle the problem of whatever nature saves the lives. We need to focus on the shortcomings in the support system they live rather the depressed individual alone. Changing the environment is the best option but not easy.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deshbhakht, Mangalore

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Rather, I felt the awareness campaign is already started, after watching the drama 'Hangers' played at Paduva High School last evening with a message 'the time will pass'

    Good efforts diocese members and leaders, we want our youngsters to live, not perish out of frustration. Keep up the good works.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Great initiative.

    Thank you for the hard work.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Feb 24 2020

    Counseling can only Help Suicide Victims ...

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse


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