Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Shreya Nandan, Dr. Shampa Gupta, and Dr. Kartikeya Ojha, four Health advocates. They are 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.

Every 4060 seconds a person in the world commits suicide. (1) The entire world has been a witness to the rising trend of increase in suicide rates among youths in recent years which demands a better understanding of the characteristics and circumstances associated with suicides, especially among the younger generation. (2)
Increasing awareness about mental health among the general population is the need of the hour. Normalizing discussion about mental health issues and providing mental health an equal status as all the other aspects that constitute the definition of ‘Health’ according to WHO would be a step in the right direction. (1)

The role of government in this aspect could be a game-changer provided plans and policies are prepared with a clear commitment to the goal. A proper collaboration between multiple stakeholders and sectors (3) along with meaningful participation of the youth and people with experience during the policy-making process should ensure a substantial decrease in the suicide rates. (1). Reducing easy accessibility to items that could potentially be used to commit suicide such as nylon ropes, pesticides, poisonous chemicals, drugs, etc can also decrease the rate of attempted suicide among youths.

Fundamental measures that could be taken by future healthcare providers include – proper training of all the future healthcare professionals to detect the ‘at risk’ population early on via early screening. The general role of spreading positivity can be taken up by the youth and thus the creation of a support system that can eventually help them uplift each other towards success. Social support within communities can help protect people who are vulnerable to suicide by, (5), teaching Coping and Problem-Solving Skills to prevent the risk of suicide in the first place. The programs should be delivered in school and community settings, making education and non-governmental organizations vital partners in prevention. (4)
Communities must provide nurturing environments to those who are vulnerable and governments can set a good example to enable them to do so.(4).
Other than this, follow-up care and proper counseling for suicide attempt survivors is an extremely essential component in this aspect as the recurrence rate of a suicide attempt is high. (2). Health care providers from all aspects such as – pediatricians, primary health care providers, and mental health counselors need to work as an integrated unit for the prevention of suicides.

Mental health and alcohol policies should be integrated into overall healthcare services, and governments should ensure sufficient funding to improve these services. (4)

And as healthcare providers, we need to extend our outreach beyond clinical settings to those who are undiagnosed or need treatment to prevent mishaps from taking place. Access to 24-hour crisis care is one of the most important aspects of mental health service provision in the prevention of suicide. (4)



About the author

Ms. Shreya Nandan, Dr. Shampa Gupta, and Dr. Kartikeya Ojha are Global Health advocates. Shreya, a 4th-year medical student in Sikkim, aspires to be a general surgeon someday. She is passionate about using her skills and education for the benefit of humanity. Dr. Shampa Gupta, working as a Cardiac RMO, Hospital in West Bengal, is a passionate researcher, and wants to make a change in the future, and people’s lives with my knowledge and skill. Dr.Kartikeya, an incredible public speaker, working as a Medical Intern in Sikkim, is a voracious researcher. He aspires to become a compassionate Interventional Cardiologist.

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