Psychiatrists explain cause of suicide and prevention methods

In the backdrop of suicides committed by students in the State, psychiatrists perceived shame and rejection as two primary factors influencing the decision, at a webinar organised by the Indian Psychiatric Society in observance of International Suicide Prevention Day

“Shame might be caused by low marks, peer pressure, and parental pressure that go on to create a sense of rejection. Such treatment from parents from whom the students look for support triggers the thought of committing suicide,” Lakshmi Vijayakumar, Consultant Psychiatrist and Founder, Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre, in her address.

Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar went on to explain that while suicidal thoughts might be simmering in a depressed individual’s mind, the maximum suicidal instinct surfaces within a period of two to three weeks. “If emotional empathetic listening is provided during this period, it could prevent suicide,” she said at a programme organised by the Indian Psychiatric Society – South Zonal Branch along with Athma Hospitals And Research, Tiruchi.

She also detailed the influence of social media in students’ lives. “The students are used to instant gratification and getting what they want with a single click. However, they must understand that in real life, relationships, career require time and effort and help is always available,” Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar said.

In his inaugural address, P. Kishan Consultant Psychiatrist, president- Indian Psychiatric Society – South Zonal Branch, cited National Crime Records Bureau Data to inform that at least 1,50,000 suicides were recorded every year in India. Maharashtra recorded the highest number of suicides, while Tamil Nadu stood second.

“A series of suicide awareness programmes would be conducted across the State until there is a drop in the numbers in the south zone,” he said.

V. Balakrishnan, Joint Commissioner of Police, Chennai North, dwelt on relaxation and contemplation techniques in his talk. He informed the attendees, mostly consisting of students from across Tamil Nadu that they must learn to accept defeat and failures. “There are grey areas in life, which are usually turning points and your decision on how to handle those turning points will change the course of your life,” he said. Breathing techniques, contemplation and understanding of the situation would help in handling it better, he added.

Mr. Balakrishnan highlighted that suicides are caused by psychological reasons- a problem in one’s cognitive capacity and must be treated as an illness.

(Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact the State’s health helpline 104 or Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050. Athma Hospitals also runs a round-the-clock helpline on 984242121).

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