Suicide Prevention Strategies

1. REDUCING AVAILABILITY of MEANS of SUICIDE:

If the availability of a popular method for suicide changes then this tends to have an impact on suicide rates. Many suicidal acts occur impulsively and therefore if a dangerous means is available this is more likely to result in death.

Examples of common means of suicide are:

  • FIREARMS (Guns): The widespread availability of guns in some states has been proposed as an important reason for their relatively high suicide rates. Some controversy surrounds the question of whether restricting availability of guns leads to a reduction in suicide rates, but the weight of evidence seems to indicate that it does.
  • POISON : The high rates of suicide in rural areas of developing countries due to self-poisoning with pesticides might be reversed with safe-storage programmes.
  • SLEEPING PILLS : Over the counter availability of sleeping pills (without Doctor’s advice ) is an important reason for their overdose and suicide. Government should make strict policies to stop their misuse. At the same time public should make it a habit not to take any medicine before consulting a doctor.

2. SAFETY MEASURES at Home for High Risk Patients :

Keep away rope, knife and other such objects from a person with history of prior suicidal attempts or if a person shows some warning signs of suicide. Homes should be free of hooks, pipes, and other objects or structures from which patients could hang themselves.

Erecting suicide barriers on bridges, lakes, river etc. If environmental changes are made such that a popular suicide site becomes safer, this can reduce their impulse of suicide.

4. ROLE of MEDIA in Reducing Suicide Rate:

Avoid dramatic reporting because this can facilitate suicidal acts in other people. Talk more about “Mental Health”.

5. EDUCATION :

Suicidal behaviour in young people often appears to be related to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulties during upbringing (e.g. abuse, deprivation), life events (especially break-up of relationships, family problems, and bullying), and poor problem-solving skills. So, we need to start educational programmes in schools about:

  • recognition of Psychosocial Stress.
  • Problem Solving &
  • Peer Support.

Another approach is to screen adolescents with questionnaires to detect children and adolescents at risk of psychiatric disorder and possible suicidal behaviour. Pupils that are so detected will then need referral to an appropriate agency for further assessment and possible treatment.

Reference :

  • New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry(2nd edition).
  • ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders.
  • Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-4

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