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Fri, 03 Apr 2020

Northeast Today

How to Prevent Suicidal Behaviour

How to Prevent Suicidal Behaviour
January 21
11:29 2020

Suniti Barua


At some point of time most of us have felt or will experience sadness in our life. Usually sadness is a normal human emotion which every single person experience at difficult or stressful times. For instances, when we are unable to cope with exam stress or not being able to meet the targets in office or even losing a pet can also trigger sadness. However, sadness is short-lived and usually passes with time. On the other hand when a person cannot cope up with his sadness and is unable to resume with his normal day-to-day life, then this could be a sign of depression. Depression can even affect our daily lives be it the simplest of things including- waking up in the morning, going to school/work, or eating a meal. The symptom normally ranges from feeling sad, lonely, hopeless or worthless. Even the thought of gaining or losing weight may compel someone to think about dying or attempting suicide.


Hence it is important to acknowledge that each person experiences depression differently and without showing the classical symptoms one may still be clinically depressed.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable.  Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person often falls prey to such thoughts and feelings and unable to find any solace they choose the path of death.

But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal persons are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives.  They wish there was an alternative to suicide, but they just can‘t see one. The first step for prevention is recognizing and treating depression. Early intervention reduces effects of depression. Negative thinking patterns and behaviors can be replaced with effective coping strategies, motivation to change self-esteem and stress management.


Warning signs for suicide may include:


Talking about suicide – such as ―I wish I hadn‘t been born, and ―I‘d be better off dead.


Preoccupation with death – Unusual focus on death.


No hope for the future – Belief that things will never get better or change.


Self-loathing / hatred –Feeling like a burden – ―Everyone would be better off without me


Saying goodbye or withdrawing from others – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends or Increasing social isolation and desire to be left alone.


Sudden sense of calm – A sudden showing of being calm after being extremely depressed.


If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it‘s a good idea to say anything. What if you‘re wrong? It‘s natural to feel uncomfortable, but the sooner the better.  You can‘t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.

Start a conversation about suicide: ―I have been feeling concerned about you lately. Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.  I wanted to check in with you because you haven‘t seemed yourself lately.


Questions you can ask: ―When did you begin feeling like this?  Did something happen to make you start feeling this way? How can I best support you right now? Have you thought about getting help?


What you can say that helps: ―You are not alone in this.  I‘m here for you.  You may not believe it now, but the way you‘re feeling will change.  I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help. When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.




  • Let the person know you care, that he/she is not More than the right words your voice and manner will show it.
  • Let the suicidal person The fact that the conversation is happening is a positive sign.
  • Be non-judgmental, patient, calm,
  • Reassure the person that help is available and that the suicidal feelings are
  • Take the person Show that you are concerned and that it‘s OK for them to share their pain with you.




  • Avoid saying  things  like:  ―You have so much  to live  for,―Your  suicide  will  hurt your family,  or ―Look on the bright  side.
  • Act shocked, lecture on the value of life, or say that suicide is
  • Refuse to be sworn to A life is at stake and you may need to speak to a mental health professional in order to keep the suicidal person safe.
  • Offer help. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it‘s hurting your loved They need to become resilient.


(The author is psychotherapist and psychologist)


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