Why someone would commit suicide? What goes on in the minds of a suicidal person? You might have a lot of questions like this. However, the feeling is very subjective.
Different people feel different feelings, some get lost in their thoughts. But some get frustrated by their thoughts. You might be unable to cope with the feelings you are going through. You may feel less like you want to die and more like you cannot go on living the life you have.
These feelings may build over time or might change from moment to moment. And it's common to not understand why you feel this way.
“These feelings are not stuck with you forever. You can improve it and will find your will to live again”
In 2021, approx 1.64 Lakh people took their own lives, according to the National Crime Records Bureau NCRB. The suicide rate jumped to 11.3 in 2020 and was at a record high of 12 in 2021. According to the WHO estimates, India has the 41st highest suicide rate globally, as of 2019.23-Mar-2023.
Men: Historically, suicide rates have been higher among men compared to women in many countries. Men often choose more lethal methods, such as firearms, which may contribute to higher completion rates. Men may also be less likely to seek help for mental health issues, leading to a higher risk of suicide.
Women: Although suicide rates tend to be lower for women overall, they make more suicide attempts compared to men. Women may be more likely to choose less immediately lethal methods, such as drug overdose or self-harm.
Suicide rates among teenagers can vary, but it is an area of concern in many societies. Factors such as bullying, academic pressure, family conflict, substance abuse, and mental health issues can contribute to increased suicide risk.
Steps leading to suicide
In the book, Why People Die by Suicide, Thomas Joiner, PhD, identifies 2 contributing factors that comprise the suicidal mind. First, a person who is suicidal believes they are a burden to others, a perception often clouded by feelings of depression and anxiety. Second, they experience a sense of “not belonging,” expressed by withdrawing from social connections. This could include the loss of family, friends, and colleagues, whether through death, divorce, separation, or conflict.
• According to the research, Feeling disconnected from others and lacking social support can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. It may occur due to factors such as a breakdown in relationships, social rejection, bullying, or a sense of not belonging.
• Mental health conditions: Mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse disorders are commonly associated with suicidal ideation. These conditions can significantly impact a person's emotional well-being and contribute to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
• Chronic pain or illness: Individuals experiencing long-term physical pain or dealing with chronic illnesses may face significant emotional distress. The constant suffering and limitations imposed by the condition can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and lead to suicidal thoughts.
• Traumatic life events: Experiencing trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, the loss of a loved one, or other distressing events, can have a profound impact on mental health and increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.
Ways to Provide Support to Someone Considering Suicide
1. Ask about suicidal thoughts: Directly asking someone if they are thinking about killing themselves will not increase or precipitate suicidal thoughts. On the contrary, it can make them feel cared for and understood, prompting them to open up about their inner distress. It is important to avoid a judgmental tone. The key is to listen.
2. Listen and acknowledge: Letting a person freely communicate their thoughts and feelings can bring them tremendous relief and may help reduce their suicidal thoughts. Avoid confronting or contradicting their judgment, as this can cause them to shut down. Simply let them know that you care about them and are there to support them.
3. Ensure their safety: Reduce access to any possible lethal means. For example, lock up all medication and remove any weapons or firearms from the home and surrounding areas. When asked in a supportive way, a suicidal individual might be willing to share details of their plan, which will make it easier for you to target items of concern.
4. Maintain Connection: Check in regularly with your friend or family member after the crisis has passed or they have been discharged from care. Acknowledge that it is OK to struggle and have bad days. Reassure them that you will listen without judgment, even if what is on their mind is sad, scary, or unpleasant. Studies have shown that this has a positive effect and helps stave off future thoughts of suicide or attempts
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it is essential to seek immediate help from mental health professionals, helplines, or emergency services.