By Pharm. Amadi Cynthia.
Suicide has become a public health issue globally. World suicide prevention day (WSPD) is an annual event organized globally by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a day set aside to remember those who have passed and also serves as a global call to check in with one another.
Suicide accounts for more fatalities than road accidents and illegal drug use combined. In 2020, staying at home, low physical activity, less socializing etc could have increased suicide tendencies and thus the need to highlight suicide prevention.
It is important to identify the early signs (behavioral changes, withdrawal from friends, work, family ) and factors that can lead to suicide: anger, ridicule, fear, distress, trauma, sadness or just an intentional will to end one’s life. Some are from large extended families, others are people who feel they have no one to turn to.
Experts agree that the effects of covid -19 pandemic can heighten proven risk factors for self harm: isolation, anxiety, economic loss, increased alcohol and drug abuse.
Suicide prevention begins with the identification of what works in different societies, early detection of the warning signs and proferring swift professional assistance. If you notice any behavioral vicissitude in your loved ones, bring them close, talk to them, be a good listener because good listening reduces tension and stress. Try to offer contact and relationship to a depressed person and maintain the contact but if you realize that it is not sufficient please arrange for professional help.
In order to improve mental health amidst the lockdown, go for early morning or evening walks, if you are allowed to engage in outdoor exercise (just avoid busy areas, keep safe distance from others, wash hands as soon as you get home), learn new skills, acquire online degrees etc. Just do what makes you happy.
Note: Physical distancing doesn’t mean that we are socially cut off. There is no cause to attempt suicide. For people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, always reminisce that: YOU ARE NOT Alone. Tomorrow will bring good things please stay alive to see it.