Pre­vent­ing sui­cide: reach­ing out and sav­ing lives

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

The world cel­e­brated the world sui­cide preven­tion day ev­ery year ini­ti­ated by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Sui­cide Preven­tion (IASP) and the WHO to call the na­tion to pre­vent sui­cide on the 10th of Septem­ber.

The theme for the World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day 2015 was “Pre­vent­ing Sui­cide: Reach­ing out and sav­ing Lives”. It serves as a call to ac­tion, in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions to pre­vent and com­bat sui­cide.

Around the world ev­ery 40 sec­onds a per­son com­mits sui­cide some­where in the world. Ev­ery year more than 800 000 deaths are caused by sui­cide and there are sev­eral other at­tempted sui­cide cases. Sui­cide is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death among 15–29-year-olds glob­ally.

The South-East Asia Re­gion con­trib­utes to 39% of global sui­cides. Sui­cide in the re­gion is mainly a prob­lem of the younger age groups. As large num­bers of peo­ple in the re­gion are pre­dom­i­nantly ru­ral, the oc­cur­rence of sui­cides is gen­er­ally much higher in the ru­ral parts of South-East Asia.

Sui­cide needs at­ten­tion as a public health prob­lem not only be­cause of the huge so­cial and emo­tional bur­den it has on the fam­ily and so­ci­ety, but also be­cause of the scope of preven­tion that it presents. Sui­cide is pre­ventable with timely, ev­i­dence-based low-cost in­ter­ven­tions. Mea­sures can be taken at pop­u­la­tion, sub­pop­u­la­tion and in­di­vid­ual lev­els to pre­vent sui­cide and sui­cide at­tempts. In Bhutan ev­ery month, around seven peo­ple die by sui­cide. Many more are treated in the BHUs and hos­pi­tals for sui­cide at­tempts and de­lib­er­ate self harm, and still there must be oth­ers not even seek­ing care and treat­ment.

This is a con­tra­dic­tion to the great em­pha­sis we place on the self preser­va­tion and in­cal­cu­la­ble value on hu­man life. Sui­cide is a tragic loss of life and cause of ex­treme suf­fer­ing for peo­ple liv­ing with the loss and to the so­ci­ety. To a large ex­tent, sui­cide is pre­ventable with ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ven­tions pro­vided at a right time. For a na­tion com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing the val­ues of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness and pro­mot­ing hap­pi­ness as a goal of hu­man ex­is­tence, this up­hill task must be over­come.

As ap­proved by the 74th Lhenyye Zhungt­shog held on 12th May, 2015 the sui­cide preven­tion three year ac­tion plan which was to be im­ple­mented by the Na­tional Sui­cide Preven­tion Pro­gram in the Min­istry of Health.

On the World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day 2015, we must make col­lec­tive ef­forts to reach out to those in need of sup­port. At the in­di­vid­ual level, early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of men­tal dis­or­ders and ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment and recog­ni­tion of sui­ci­dal be­hav­iors is help­ful. Large-scale ad­vo­cacy ef­forts are re­quired to re­duce the stigma re­lated to sui­cides.

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