Working together to prevent suicide - By Dr Deepa Marina Rasquinha














By Dr Deepa Marina Rasquinha

Sep 10: World suicide prevention day is celebrated across the globe every year on September 10 since 2003 to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death in the world. WHO estimates 1 million deaths due to suicide every year. It is predicted that by 2020, the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.

This year, the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is 'Working Together to Prevent Suicide' which was also the theme for the year 2019.

The prevention of suicide is a big challenge to society and the nation as well. With the multiple approaches and meaningful interventions, many lives can be saved. Preventing suicide requires interventions at the following levels.

At Individual Level

Every individual of the society must take responsibility to save the life of people committing suicide. Monitoring the behavioral tendency of the individual at high-risk is important. Simple techniques like trying to establish contact, allowing them to talk about themselves, and their feelings, helping them in the crisis and releasing them from their circle of thoughts, being with them and continue to interact, listen and offer support. It is also important that high-risk individual should be engaged in social and recreational activities such as meeting people, talking friends, watching TV. Continued help and support will enable them to overcome challenges in a positive way.

At Family Level

The role of family members is instrumental in understanding the problems, providing a favorable emotional climate, and molding a negative thought and obsession of high-risk individual. Every member of the family should know the feelings, emotions, and temperament of one another. As a family one should be alert to the maladjustments, warning signs, and abnormality occurring. Acting as a counselor and only by listening most of the issues can be solved and conflicts minimized. Special watch on elderly, terminally ill, mentally ill, and disabled is important. Also encouraging the person to seek professional help.

At Community Level

Communities, organizations, and agencies have an extremely important goal in developing preventive services, emergency services, aftercare service and preventive programs. Communities can have area wise helplines, tele-counselling, publicity on these helplines encourages people to seek services breaking the stigma attached, planning training programs for groups offering services, reducing access to convenient means of suicide (e.g. toxic substances, handguns), and also avoid naming places (e.g. Suicide point, suicide bridge). Organising local programs through local languages in schools, colleges, malls, industries, and hospitals can reduce the rate of suicide and promote healthy mental and social activities.

At Mass Media Level

Both print and electronic media have a profound impact on the lives of the people. Media can help in preventing suicide by reporting the accurate suicide statistics thus emphasizing that every suicidal death is a loss to society, not to highlight celebrity suicide, the impact of suicide on near and dear one should be realistically described, and publicity on helplines, trauma centers, and counseling centers.

At Teachers' Level

Teachers help young children build value systems thus setting acceptable individual aspirations and inculcating appropriate goal-setting mechanisms and reducing suicide. Several problems arise in the adolescent stage, a teacher can provide proper support help and adequate buffer mechanisms for handling this transformation effectively. Teachers can provide comfort and support in overcoming a child’s mental stress. Teachers should identify crisis children at an early stage and counseling services should be provided to them. It’s also important to have regular parent-teacher interaction for the development of a child's personality in totality.

At Spiritual Level

Spiritual leaders and faith healers occupy a special position in our societies owing to their stature, position, wisdom, and capabilities to influence people’s beliefs and values. If they play a positive role in identifying suicidal thoughts, behaviour, depressive states, and other emotional support to the people it will be a step in the right direction. These practices to visiting them have a greater impact on the mindset of the people and resolve conflicts in the families and community level.

A multidisciplinary team needs to work towards suicide prevention. Let us all know that the act of suicide as a ripple effect, pain, and sorrow among the loved ones. As quoted by Clark, “The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand … Why?”

Dr Deepa Marina Rasquinha is an assistant professor in department of Clinical Psychology at Manipal College of Health Profession (MCHP), Manipal Academy of Higher Education.






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Comment on this article

  • Aavin, Bejai

    Fri, Sep 11 2020

    Very informative article and very much required in today's so called modern world and also the current COVID situation where people kind of feel mental stress
    Very well written Dr Deepa, looking forward for more such informative article

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  • dk shetty, mangalore

    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    Thank you Dr.Deepaji for highlighting a social menace in our country.
    Thanks to you for all the efforts put in place for providing counselling /Guidance,

    It is really unfortunate today India is called world capital of suicides !!!
    Because highest number of people end their lives prematurely in India,
    Its really a shame, despite we are being recognized as good people and since Yoga, and other higher sciences originated here, people are focusing on materialism and sense gratifications.
    Our Gitas, and other religious texts talk about the importance of life/soul, and to do good karmas so that people are born in higher dimensions.
    We just take our lives for granted, never appreciate it is a gift from divine and must be used to make ours/other lives better.
    People who are contemplating the idea of ending their life must think, they are only falling from frying pan to fire itself, as they have to pay higher price as per scriptures of many religious.
    By ending life because of insurmountable problems-Money, loans,family issues, diseases.
    Fight the problems and never think one will end problems by ending the body, soul has to incarnate in some other body and in other dimension. Nothing can be destroyed as science say,

    Youngsters must realise if you fail in exams or if you dint get good marks or if someone insults/belittles you...…...don't you ever think of ending your life, rather face problems head on and only when you walk the road...….another road appears. Be brave and appreciate life, live your earthly life/time fully and give it as a gift to parabrahman, allah or Yesuva.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ismail, Moodbidri

    Mon, Sep 14 2020

    Good observation. Another reason is insecurity among teenagers. Politicians to get support, branding somebody as threat for existence of their followers. It indirectly develops insecurity. Therefore, my humble request to everybody to start trust others and stop hate.

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  • John, Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    One needs to know how to tame the mind and thoughts through self control, little decipline and definitely with Divine assistance to solve all the life problems. Simple way to surrender the mind and any negative thoughts to Love to slowly overcome any situation with the help of God as God is Love. 1 John 4:8.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Allen Fernandes, Mumbai

    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    Once again a well written and informative article Dr Deepa , in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed by hopelessness and despair.

    Keep writing and inspiring.

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  • Gowri, Karkala

    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    With the right kind of approach,many lives can be saved.
    Very informative and well-written, ma'am.
    Thank you and keep writing. :)

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse


    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    Suicide in India is not just about mental health. It's about gender, class, caste, poverty, unemployment, violence and stigma. Daily, more than 380 Indians (including children) die by suicide every 24 hours.We need a robust policy and program that addresses suicide prevention.
    Say yes to life
    No to Suicide!

    Keep on writing, your pen is your strength. All the best😀.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gurka, Mangaluru

    Thu, Sep 10 2020

    Its state of mind decided by the surroundings which we are living in. Peace of mind is more important than anything else in this world which create ones HEAVEN to live.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

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