Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Much regarding suicide has been said and discussed by experts and individuals with appropriate qualifications. A layperson like me, may not have anything new to add in this regard. I only have a few personal anecdotes. But, first I will start with a proper introduction. I come from the Himalayan state of Sikkim, a small hill kingdom which borders China and which has also quite keenly been crowned as the first state to be 100% organic by the United Nations. The literacy rate of the state is on the higher side and it accommodates the nation’s third-highest per capita income. But, do you also know that Sikkim has the highest suicide rate in India, and is dubbed The Suicide Capital of India?
In 2015, the suicide rate here was 37.5 per 100,000 people, more than three times the national average of 10.6. Among these victims 27% were unemployed. So, where did Sikkim go wrong? I`ll leave that question for the policymakers. What I can say, from my personal experience, is that suicidal thoughts are not a rare phenomenon anymore; they occur to all of us at some point, but what safeguards us from actually making the wrong move, are our various navigation options. These options include our accessibility to vent out some pressure occasionally or the motivation towards some higher purpose, goal, or responsibility. The most efficient of these anecdotes is the simple assurance of having someone to relate, listen and talk to. Not all of us can realize our motivations on the downhill road of a breakdown; venting holes.
We like to distract ourselves by engaging in some activity: some of us vent by acting irrationally, some of us are openly expressive and find solace in art, music, and media; some of us put our lives into video games; while some of us find refuge in alcohol, and the unluckiest of all, fall into substance abuse.
The Brahmastra against suicidal thoughts is proper communication. LSRW students may understand when I say that linear communication is the best way to deal against suicidal thoughts i.e., communication between friends and peers; not to mean that parents and elders aren’t good enough. This is where the responsibility falls on all of us.
We may never know when a person is going through suicidal thoughts. We may not even observe through a person's face or behaviour. For instance, if Miss. A were to be having suicidal thoughts then chances are that she'd keep all the shortcomings to herself. She`d pretend to be quite okay about everything and put on a mask. Nobody wants people to feel pity for them, especially when they run across the fear that their situation is too pathetic. Empathy from a loved one is a different thing. Suicidal thoughts make a person hesitant to ask for any help. This is how victims, consciously or unconsciously, isolate themselves.
So, how do we deal with such invisible symptoms? I believe, kindness is our only option. Even if we do not like someone, we must not be rude to them. We must not be selfish in that aspect. This is the Brahmastra which our generation has put aside as ‘too obsolete.’ Being kind and approachable to speak is the only effective step. An amazing example can be set if we abstain from being unnecessarily harsh and treat everyone with a kind smile. We must not let our communication get rusty with loved ones (that’s the least we could do).
Ring up that old friend from school or the one from your first place of work and relish the good and bad times you’ve spent together. Resume warm conversations and just listen to people, and in turn, they will listen to you. Every action whether positive or negative compounds inside a person and affects them. Even a small act of kindness can serve as a blessing in disguise. We can only think of influencing our society through our actions. Suicides can be prevented. Love and kindness have the power to save more than just a life!
Contributed by Sai Priya Tamang ,Content writer at Mitti ke Rang.
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