Save a life - A Suicide Prevention Initiative

"Suicide is preventable". Many of those who contemplate suicide, might just require an empathizing ear and a socio-emotional support to survive the tough phase of life. It could be lending a helping hand or motivating them to get a professional help.

In a country like India, where a lot of stigma revolves around mental health, it’s a tough job to motivate someone to visit a therapist.

Today when I advised a friend to visit a psychiatrist for some issues he was facing, he piked up a major fight. He claims that he was insulted by my words. How much ever hard I tried to justify my statement, he didn’t bother to listen. I had to end the conversation abruptly to ensure that we didn’t break our relationship.

When this is the case with a professional, holding a PhD in living science, what would it be with those outnumbering unfortunate people who don’t even know what science is all about?

Majority are scared of getting labeled as “mad person” by the community. To many, psychiatric illness is moral weakness or defects in their character. Though it is evident beyond any doubt that we have definitive treatment options for various psychiatric illness, some still believe that treatment is vague and uncertain, that patients invariably deteriorate and end up leading a hopeless and dependent life.

Because of all these, mental illness is considered a disgrace and visiting psychiatrist is one of the last things they would do in life. But nobody realizes the gravity of the problem till it reaches a point of no return.

In-spite of having good number of our population far ahead of the world in education, we still can’t untangle this intricacy. As a result, a lot of National Mental Health initiatives are not being utilized to full extend.

Its high time we should all join hands to wash the wrong notion off and reinforce mental well being. The best way is to realize and convince others that mental health is as important as health of any other system in the body.

Like we get our self checked and treated for our heart ailments, we should be prepared to get therapy for our mental illness too. A visit to a psychiatrist could be life saving just like a cardiology or neurology consultation.

Unless we succeed in overcoming this biggest hurdle, a lot of people will continue to suffer and loose lives in-spite of having a real solution for their problem.

In the end, I would like you to take a look at few of the statistics:

1. “On average about 800 000 people commit suicide every year, 86% of them in low- and middle-income countries. More than half of the people who kill themselves are aged between 15 and 44. …. Mental disorders are one of the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide.”
2. “About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, with similar types of disorders being reported across cultures. …. ”
3. “Indian suicide rate was 2009 (the latest statistics published) is 10.9.” ie, approximately 1 person in every 10,000 population commit suicide, which means, mental ill health is a major killer like any other disease.
The first two are the statements published by World Heath Organization under the title “Fact Files” and the third from the National crime record bureau- India.

When all these facts are read together, it’s evident that we must take into account the the mental health of the community as a priority. With life taking a faster pace and turning more stressful, we’ve got to be mentally fit to face the day today challenges.


  1. the statistics you gave at the start of the post is scary & a cause for worry.

    good post Leo

  2. The stigma attached with these issues is hard to break. It is easier said than done. Most people live in denial. They find comfort in repressing their dysfunctional behaviour, in pretension than admit that something is/might be wrong.

    What we as a society fail to acknowledge is that the support system is breaking. The family structure that once provided safety, comfort and financial security is now a broken structure. We pride ourselves on the endurance of stress levels. The more stressed we are, and the more endurance we have- we are valued more. In this construct what we fail to see is the fact that there is nowhere to go to when we break down. Breaking down becomes synonymous with failure. We give in to pressure and the societal expectations without understanding what we need- this becomes one of the major factors for breaking down. And since it is weakness- we prefer to keep it "closeted" than admit it to ourselves, let alone to shrinks!
    I think we need more awareness, like you said about the importance of mental health and to break the myths surrounding a consultation with a therapist.

  3. @ Apeetha ~ Well said. We need more awareness and break the myths before its too late.
    Thank you. BTW, nice pic.

  4. yeah this is a sensitive issue,,

    even when doctor like you said, your friend had reacted in a defending mode.

    I think close associates of him can influence him see a physciatrist

    good one leo