Suicide prevention: the role of government and youth

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Abdul Rehman, a third year MBBS student from Allama Iqbal Medical College. The writer is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Suicide is a silent problem and a serious health issue in many countries as it is second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34.A few decades ago, it was not addressed but now it is the need of hour to take immediate steps to solve this problem because globally one person dies every 40 sec with average of 18.5 per 100,000 people.

Pakistan suicidal mortality rate is however below than worldwide average. Currently, the suicide rate in Pakistan is approximately 3.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

Mostly suicides are related to psychiatric syndromes, depression, mental health issues, social disturbance, adverse childhood experience, factors like dislikeness, economical issues. Research has revealed that the people who died of suicide had suffered from mental health problems in some part of their lives.

These people were suffering from diseases like alcoholism, depression, schizophrenia etc. People get different ideas of suicide because somehow they want escape from chaos of uncertainty prevailing in their head. Another major cause of suicide specifically in Pakistan and other economically poor countries is poverty. People are unemployed, inflation is high, no hygienic conditions are available, all these factors pave the way to many suicidal thoughts.

The world becoming materialistic and people being busy in making money is the reason why children are not getting affection from their parents and old parents are getting apart from their adult children because of their busy life in maintaining their lifestyle. Lack of attention from beloved ones makes the person feel left out and alone, pushing him to negativitiy and depression. This is main reason of high suicidal ratio among aged people in rich countries.

What we can do as a individual, as a society or as a state is to try to eradicate all possible reasons which can lead to suicidal thoughts and depression. Now we have to be mature enough in recognizing warning signs among our family members and friends and taking them seriously. We have to accept this in front of the victim that this is the common feeling among people and you can easily overcome these negative thoughts. Implementation of suicide prevention guidelines in mental healthcare departments can be useful in the efforts to reduce suicide rates.

Government can play a pivotal role in this battle by making suicide prevention policies and eliminating possible causes of suicide. The first step in this fight is to fulfill basic needs of people, stating absolute commitment to suicide prevention. Government should resolve problems like poverty, social vulnerability, strengthen economic support, create a protective environment, identify and support people who are at risk.

State must restrict access to common places of suicide, fencing the bridges. Restricting access to pesticides and firearms has been effective in descreasing suicides in many countries like India, Sri lanka and Australia. Responsible media reporting can be effective by providing awareness and information about where to seek help in these conditions.

But the truth is this, it has not been addressed adequately in many countries of the world and some people still think it as a taboo to openly discuss it. It is clear that suicide prevention requires intervention not only from health sectors but also from other sectors like police, judiciary, education, law and media.

About the author

Abdul Rehman is a third year MBBS student from Allama Iqbal Medical College. He is a cordial member of IFMSA.

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