Suicide is a severe public health issue, with over 700,000 individuals dying by suicide each year. It can be defined as an action motivated by a wish to end extreme psychological suffering. Suicide is a tragedy that impacts the entire family, community, and country. It is frequently linked to a significant depressive episode, but it can also arise from substance abuse or another disorder. The biggest risk factors for suicide are mental disorders, psychological disorders, and substance use disorders. It can happen even if no psychiatric disease is present, especially in difficult situations like intense or prolonged bereavement or worsening health. Some suicides are impulsive acts that occur as a result of stress, such as financial or academic challenges, relationship issues such as breakups and divorces, or harassment and bullying.
According to recent figures, over a million individuals commit themselves each year, resulting in an annual global age-standardized suicide rate of 11.4 per 100,000 people (15.0 for males and 8.0 for females). When comparing the years 2000 to 2016, the age-adjusted suicide rate increased by 30%. These are merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of rates. Every year, far more people attempt suicide than commit suicide. According to a conservative estimate, more than 20 million people attempt suicide each year. Furthermore, given the WHO’s prediction that suicide rates will surpass one million in the next 15 years, it is projected that suicide rates will climb in the future.
Each suicide attempt and suicide is the result of a long-term fight for these individuals, as well as trauma and distress among their relatives and friends. Suicide prevention is clearly a global priority, as evidenced by these statistics. As clinicians and researchers, we must make every effort to improve suicide prevention in order to increase suicide and suicidal behavior detection, intervention, and prevention. Our primary goal is to improve our understanding of the causes, determinants, and facilitators of sociality from an interdisciplinary approach. Teachers can play a critical role in preventing suicide. Teachers come into regular touch with a large number of young people, some of whom are dealing with issues that could lead to significant damage or even death by suicide. They are in a position to observe what kids say, do, and write, and to intervene if a student appears to be at risk of self-harm. Teachers can also help prevent suicide by supporting the emotional well-being of all students, not just those who are at high risk.
Teachers are in a unique position to foster a sense of belonging and closeness in the school
community. School/College/University connectivity refers to students’ view that adults and peers at school care about them as individuals as well as their academic performance. Teachers can play a critical role in preventing suicide. Teachers come into regular touch with a large number of young people, some of whom are dealing with issues that could lead to significant damage or even death by suicide. They are in a position to observe what kids say, do, and write, and to intervene if a student appears to be at risk of self-harm. Teachers can also help prevent suicide by supporting the emotional well-being of all students, not just those who are at high risk. It’s feasible through interacting positively with kids and assisting them in communicating with classmates and other adults in the educational institutional community during the school day and during extracurricular activities. Connectivity is linked to fewer suicidal thoughts and attempts (Whitlock et al., 2014; Marraccini et al., 2017). The following warning indicators, according to experts in the field of suicide prevention, suggest that a young person may be at risk.
- Talking about or making plans for suicide
- Expressing hopelessness about the future
- Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
- Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence
of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant:
• Withdrawal from or change in social connections or situations
• Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
• Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
• Recent increased agitation or irritability.
If they find any of these signs in a student, take these recommended steps right away:
- Do not leave the student alone. Make sure the student is in a secure environment supervised by
a caring adult until he or she can be seen by the mental health contact.
- Make sure the student is escorted to the mental health contact available at the educational
institute. 3. Provide any additional information to the mental health contact that will help with their
assessment of the student.
Unfortunately, suicide is difficult to prevent, in large part because the prevalence of risk factors is high among the general population. Prevention strategies found to be effective in suicide prevention include means restriction, responsible media coverage, and general public education, as well identification methods such as screening, gatekeeper training, and primary care physician education. Although the treatment for preventing suicide is difficult, follow-up that includes pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, or both may be useful. However, prevention methods cannot be restricted to the individual. Community, social, and policy interventions will also be essential. Suicide prevention requires strategies that encompass work at the individual, systems and community level. Policy directed at means restriction and public awareness campaigns can be used in combination with strategies directed at the individual, including identification, proper diagnosis and effective treatments. Given the complexity of identifying and managing suicide risk, a combination of interventions at a several levels will be required in order to implement an
efficacious, comprehensive prevention program.
Writer: Fatema Tuj Johora, Senior Lecturer, DIU