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Accidence Prevention and Suicide Prevention

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Author - Dr. C. S. Ranaweera
Institution - Health Education Bureau

The Problem

Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.

  • Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; one death every 40 seconds.
  • Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group
  • Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing
  • Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role.
  • Over 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. and the most common mental illness is depression.

Untreated mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others) is the cause for the vast majority of suicides.

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Depression

Some of the negative life experiences that may cause depression, and some other causes for depression, include:

  • The death of a loved one.
  • A divorce, separation, or breakup of a relationship.
  • Losing custody of children, or feeling that a child custody decision is not fair.
  • A serious loss, such as a loss of a job, house, or money.
  • A serious illness.
  • A terminal illness.
  • A serious accident.
  • Chronic physical pain.
  • Intense emotional pain.
  • Loss of hope.
  • Being victimized (domestic violence, rape, assault, etc).
  • A loved one being victimized (child murder, child molestation, kidnapping, murder, rape, assault, etc.).
  • Physical abuse.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Unresolved abuse (of any kind) from the past.
  • Feeling "trapped" in a situation perceived as negative.
  • Feeling that things will never "get better."
  • Feeling helpless.
  • Serious legal problems, such as criminal prosecution or incarceration.
  • Feeling "taken advantage of."
  • Inability to deal with a perceived "humiliating" situation.
  • Inability to deal with a perceived "failure."
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Drug abuse.
  • A feeling of not being accepted by family, friends, or society.
  • A horrible disappointment.
  • Feeling like one has not lived up to his or her high expectations or those of another.
  • Bullying. (Adults, as well as children, can be bullied.)
  • Low self-esteem.

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Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Ideation (thinking about suicide)
  • Substance use or abuse (increased or change in substance)
  • Purposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
  • Anger
  • Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
  • Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
  • Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
  • Anxiety (restlessness, irritability)
  • Recklessness (high risk-taking behavior)
  • Mood disturbance (dramatic change in mood)
  • Talking about suicide.
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

some people are genetically predisposed to depression which is followed by suicide.

A person with suicidal thoughts urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.

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Suicide Prevention

Awareness, education, and treatment are the keys to suicide prevention.

Various suicide prevention strategies have been used to reduce attempted suicide and suicide:

Promoting mental resilience through optimism and connectedness.

Education about suicide, including risk factors, warning signs and the availability of help.

Increasing the proficiency of health and welfare services at responding to people in need. This includes better training for health professionals and employing crisis counselling organizations.

Reducing domestic violence and substance abuse are long-term strategies to reduce many mental health problems.

Reducing access to convenient means of suicide (e.g. toxic substances, handguns).

Reducing the quantity of dosages supplied in packages of non-prescription medicines e.g. aspirin.

Not all people with depression will show all symptoms or have them to the same degree. If a person has four or more symptoms, for more than two weeks, consult a doctor or mental health professional right away. While the symptoms specified for all groups below generally characterize major depression, there are other disorders with similar characteristics including: bipolar illness, anxiety disorder, or attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.

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Last update on : 2010-12-13 12:08:28