World Suicide Prevention Day is a day dedicated to understanding this crisis, highlighting the lifelines within reach, celebrating the mighty power of connection, and working to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on September 10th each year and this day carries immense significance, as it emphasizes the importance of collective efforts in preventing suicide and supporting those in need.
Dr Neerja Agarwal , Co- Founder of Emoneeds further commented and shared with Zee News English, “Suicide is a multifaceted issue, often entangled with mental health challenges, external stressors, and personal battles. The recent onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these problems, intensifying feelings of anguish and hopelessness on a global scale. During such trying times, the simple act of reaching out to someone who cares can be a literal lifeline.”
Understanding the Crisis
Understanding the depth of this crisis involves recognizing that it knows no boundaries.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, Dr Shweta Sharma- Consultant Clinical Psychologist – Manipal Hospitals,Gurugram spoke to Zee News English on how understanding and empathy matter.
Dr Shweta says, “Mental disorders are linked to suicidal tendencies and stigma. Suicide risk factors include social isolation, unemployment, hopelessness, and stress, which are all consequences of stigma. Although suicidality is frequently a direct result of mental disorders and their symptoms, individuals with mental illness confront a dual problem. In addition to their symptoms, they belong to a stigmatized group and are frequently subjected to daily discrimination.”
According to Dr Shweta Sharma there are three primary stigma categories may contribute to suicidal tendencies.
First, public stigma occurs when members of the general public endorse negative stereotypes and discriminate against people with mental illness; typical consequences of public stigma include social isolation and weakened social networks as members of the general public distance themselves from people who are labeled as mentally ill. Public stigma can result in unemployment if employers uphold negative perceptions, and it can affect a variety of other fields, including education and housing. Stigma and discrimination are typically experienced as social defeat, which is associated with suicidality.
Second, societal regulations can systematically disadvantage people with mental illness, a phenomenon known as structural discrimination; for instance, relative underfunding of mental health services in comparison to physical health services can result in inferior quality of care and decreased access to mental health services.
Thirdly, self-stigma refers to those with mental illness who internalize negative perceptions, leading to humiliation, social withdrawal, and demoralization. Individuals with mental illness may feel unworthy or incapable of pursuing their life objectives as a result of self-stigma (‘why try?’). In this context, two additional stigma-related consequences are significant. One is despondency or the belief that one’s circumstance will never improve. Individuals with mental illness who hold their group in low regard – conceptually comparable to self-stigma – are more likely to report despondency following adjustment for depressive symptoms.
“A second potential consequence of experiencing stigma is the cognitive evaluation of stigma as a stressor or the perception of stigma as a hazard that transcends one’s coping resources. Increased stigma stress correlates with social anxiety, humiliation, and hopelessness. Finally, all three forms of stigma can act as barriers to obtaining assistance for mental health concerns”, highlights Dr Shweta.
The Lifeline Within Reach
One of the core messages of this day is that help is always within reach. Whether it’s through crisis hotlines, support groups, or mental health professionals, there are resources available for those in distress. It’s essential to spread awareness about these lifelines and make them easily accessible to everyone.
The Mighty Power of Connection
Connection, both human and emotional, plays a pivotal role in suicide prevention. Individuals who are struggling often feel isolated and alone. On this day, we must emphasize the power of listening, empathy, and kindness.
“A heartfelt check-in with a friend, a candid sharing of your emotions with a loved one, or the decision to seek professional assistance can work wonders in someone’s life,” adds Dr Neerja.
Breaking Down the Stigma
World Suicide Prevention Day calls for the dismantling of this stigma. Through education, open conversations, and destigmatization efforts, we can create a more supportive and understanding society where people feel safe discussing their mental health concerns.
Dr Krishna Veer Singh, Co-Founder & CEO of Lissun says, “World Suicide Prevention Day serves as an annual global reminder of the pressing issue facing India, which stands at the 41st highest suicide rate worldwide, demanding our immediate attention and concerted efforts. To combat this crisis effectively, we must embark on a multifaceted journey, addressing it from every angle. Seeking professional help is paramount, and individuals in distress should be empowered to reach out to mental health professionals or helplines without hesitation.”
The Importance of World Suicide Prevention Day
In conclusion, World Suicide Prevention Day is not just a day on the calendar; it is a call to action. It urges us to understand the gravity of the suicide crisis, reach out to those in need, harness the mighty power of human connection, and break down the stigma that shrouds mental health.