Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: How can we reduce the risk?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Tashfeen Nasira, a third-year medical student currently studying at Amna Inayat Medical College, Pakista. She 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.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 703,000 people take their lives worldwide every year. For every single demise by suicide, another 20 are estimated to attempt to take their lives, and even several others contemplate the thought of ending their lives. Strengthening national policies and creating awareness among youth are among the first few steps that need to be taken to curb this rising global crisis.

As young people, we must become more conscious of how we treat others and how our behavior affects others. We should be mindful of our speech and aim to be inclusive in our social circles. Comments made to put others down even in small ways can create a snowball effect that might push people over the edge. Ostracizing people from our social group to appear cool and exclusive can have a deeply negative impact on their thoughts. Apart from ensuring our actions do not hurt or exclude people, it is also essential to proactively reach out to people you may see struggling. Catching onto cues of changed behavior and having meaningful conversations can be instrumental first steps of identifying someone who is at high risk.

With the increase in the popularity of social media platforms, it has become far more daunting to go about your day-to-day life without being worried about how others perceive you. Often, young people feel pressured to uphold and mimic unrealistic luxurious lifestyles and beauty standards. A young and impressionable mind may feel inferior to their peers if they’re unable to do so. This overwhelming pressure to live a picture-perfect life is a contributor to the high prevalence of depression in young individuals.

To stymie this social media induced feeling of unworthiness that affects mental health, we must allow young individuals to be authentic to themselves and appreciate their diverse backgrounds. Being different should be celebrated. Parents should have conversations with children about the right and safe use of social media and make them aware of its challenges such as cyberbullying, which is linked to depression.

Suicide prevention should be made a priority in the public health policies created nationally and internationally with funds dedicated to providing support via 24-hour hotlines. In areas where access to mental health services is low, general practitioners/physicians should receive extra specialized training in how to identify, assess and manage individuals at high risk.

On a personal level, we must live our lives with empathy for others and be a source of light and comfort for those around us. We must present ourselves as allies, make it a point to reach out to those who are struggling, provide a listening ear and encourage them to seek help however possible.

Every year, World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated on September 10 to show solidarity with individuals who are battling suicidal thoughts. It aims to reduce the stigma associated with suicides and raises awareness among people and government organizations to enforce one message: Suicide can be prevented.

About the author

Ms. Tashfeen Nasira is a third-year medical student currently studying at Amna Inayat Medical College, Pakistan. She has a great passion for writing and aims to increase awareness about the disparity in healthcare and improve its accessibility to low-income households and minorities in her country and worldwide through it.


  1. It makes me feel very bad when I understand how many people would be with us now if someone just paid attention to them at the right moment, saw that they were ill or hurt, or even if they just smiled.
    I understand that the problems are deeper, but such trifles could help many people
    Thanks for your hard work, keep up the good work!

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