Timely intervention can avert suicides

New Delhi: Suicides are the most common cause of death in young adults in India and responsible for the loss of lives of nearly one million persons worldwide every year, say experts.

"Suicide is not a mental illness, but can be a consequence of an underlying psychiatric difficulty like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction or personality disorder, which may be treatable if timely help is provided," said Sunil Mittal, Senior Consultant (Psychiatrist) and Director at Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS) -- a city based mental healthcare service provider, in a statement on Thursday. 

Untreated mood swings, recent life trauma, sudden calmness after mood swings, talking about suicide and making preparations to give away possessions may be red flag signs of potential risk for suicide. 

If any such signs are noted, family members and next of kin must intervene and help the person suffering from suicidal ideation find timely help from mental health care experts, the doctors said.

"People attempt suicide when they are no longer able to bear the psychological pain and become overpowered by a feeling of hopelessness. Stressful life events like death of a loved one, financial loss, retirement, academic difficulties, ragging and relationship difficulties can be triggers for an act as serious as suicide," added Shobhana Mittal, Consultant Psychiatrist at CIMBS.

Further, in a bid to provide prompt psychological assistance at the time of distress, the CIMBS is also set to launch a 24-hour toll free helpline number on World Suicide Prevention Day which is on September 10. 

The helpline number "9717402402" will be manned by a psychiatrist or trained professional who will guide those requiring assistance and support in case of psychiatric and mental distress, the doctors stated. 

In addition, a free of cost suicide prevention camp will also be held on the same day, at CIMBS' Defence Enclave Psychiatry Centre.

People who have been experiencing suicidal thoughts or know of someone at risk of suicide, can come and meet mental health care experts for guidance on how to deal with suicidal behaviour and its underlying causes, the doctors noted.