” Have No Fear – ‘ World Suicide Prevention Day ‘ ” – September 10, 2020.

          About 80,000  people commit suicide every year in India. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief, or are otherwise affected. There is one death every second, and 20 million suicide attempts in the world. The two States which rank the highest on this in India are Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They seem to have secured their places for years !  That Tamil Nadu ranks high on the list of “family suicides” is the most unfortunate, unpleasant, and upsetting situation. The only silver lining, if one can take solace, is that it affords an opportunity for medical specialists on mental disorders to use this as the Golden Opportunity for providing Commitment and Action on measures of prevention.

          The chief reasons for most suicides lie in “misunderstanding”  of the situation, circumstances, purposes, comments, instructions, intentions  …  …

          Recently ( February 12, 2020 ) there was news regarding the suicide of a farmer, aged 50 years, from the town of Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. He was suffering from mild urinary tract infection and went to Ruia Hospital, Tirupati, for treatment. The doctor prescribed some medicines and advised him to wear face mask to prevent the cold and fever from spreading while emphasizing the seriousness of contagious diseases in present day environment. His casualness of the gesture was not deliberate, though. But, it only served to confuse the patient further. Upon returning home he chanced upon watching on TV news Information on Coronavirus disease preventive measures of social distancing and wearing of face masks. It frightened him and he immediately started shouting : ” I have COVID-19 ;  don’t come near me “.  When neighbours tried to approach him to calm his nerves, he started pelting stones at them. After sometime he became quiet and relaxed and neighbours returned to their places. During that night itself, however, the farmer committed  ‘suicide’  by hanging himself from a tree on the backyard.

          If the suicide had happened decades or years ago, it would have been dismissed as the result of unawareness or lack of education. Today, it makes one wonder how and why this happens in this age of modern practices.

          When WHO embarked on the program of at least 10% suicide prevention in the light of increasing deaths due to suicide(s), factors covering Stress due to on-line Education ;  exam sensitivities ; and now the Coronavirus have become an integral part of preventive measures.

          ” Suicide to be viewed as a Social Problem and not just a death of an individual ”  requiring a change in approach to the problem in general has become the social imperative of Quality Medical Care now.

          Some guidelines in this respect are already framed :  Affected individuals should be able to speak in a candid and frank manner ;  Counsellors should be able to listen to them with care and intent ;  Information regarding the affected individuals should be sent to nearby hospitals and counsellors in the area ;  Necessary actions to help deal with mental disorders should be made available ;  Follow-up regarding physical and mental health of the affected individuals should be recorded ;  Name, address, and contact relations of the affected individuals should be registered.

          Under the aegis of Chingleput Medical College in Tamil Nadu, a Suicide Prevention Consulting Activity functions 24×7.  Phone 104 can be contacted for information and preliminary consultations in brief. For consultations at length, private Counseling Centres are informed. This is not a matter of cure in a day or two. But their activities have a key functional role in Suicide Prevention.

          Business losses ;  Failure of farming industry due to calamities, natural or otherwise ;  Chronic ailments without cure ;  Alcoholism and other illnesses of Drug Addiction have been the causative factors for guidance among individuals between 18 and 30 years of age. Added to this is the failure in examinations, specially, in the last two decades or so.

          According to a report from a private Service Organisation, the following are evident :  About 25% of students in the age group 14 to 18 are unable to read even a full sentence in English ;  17% out of these cannot read a complete sentence without mistake(s) in their own vernacular language ;  75%  cannot do a subtraction (-) ;  53%  cannot do a division (÷).  It was however not surprising that they all did well in mobile use conversations and computer usage. A good number of suicides include these groups of individuals due to problems in their growing years.

          That a significant % of suicide deaths come from South India is a sad commentary in itself. In terms of general education this region has its fair share of success in many fields/sectors. This region is also not susceptible to natural disasters,  calamities, adverse environmental conditions,  riots and other disturbances,  or starvation and deaths. But the fact that suicides are still happening is the most disturbing piece of news.

          We need to come out of the emotional feelings of pressure due to any imaginary absence of well wishers. We should learn the secrets of life and its success. Without being obstinate be ready to be flexible like the  ‘Naanal plant’ (ready to bend against the gust of wind).

          ” Those who win never quit ; those who quit, never win “.

          We read reports of mine workers being rescued several days after the disaster. We hear the same about those caught in landslides too. That they survive without air, light, or food during those days exemplifies their resolve being strengthened amid life threatening difficulties. Faith and belief succeeded in the end.

          Let us also live in faith, belief, and endurance.

          ” LIFE  IS  TO  LIVE ;  NOT  TO  COMMIT  SUICIDE “


   “Dieu avec nous “

   Thursday, September 10, 2020 –  11.59 a.m. (IST)

   Tidbit  :  ” Never, never, never give up ” – Winston Churchill.



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