World Suicide Prevention Day 2020
Working together to prevent suicide
As India groans under the weight of COVID-19, another underreported crisis has come to the fore. In the last two months, nearly ten doctors have reportedly died by suicide in different institutions across the country. Most of them were younger than 30 years.
The Indian Journal of Psychiatry concluded in a study that 30% of Indian doctors and physicians go through depression, while 17% have experienced thoughts about ending their life. Almost 80% of doctors especially at the earlier stages of their academics and career face the risk of burnout.
Organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), the World Suicide Prevention Day which is observed on 10 September every year, aims to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention.
The theme this year — working together to prevent suicide — focusses on bringing together government organisations, healthcare professionals, NGOs, family, friends, coworkers and closed ones to work together to bring down suicide rate.
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, there’s plenty you can do to help save a life.
In general, doctors are trained early in their training to mask their pain, to maintain a stoic stance about illness and this perpetuates the denial of their own health vulnerabilities. Suicide rates globally are reported to be much higher among doctors than among other professional groups or the general population.
Mental health issues must not go undiagnosed among medical students and doctors and it must be facilitated that they seek help without fear of sanctions or blame, and unlearn the shame and stigma related to this.
Also, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister has recently launched a 24×7 toll-free mental health rehabilitation helpline ‘KIRAN’ (1800-500-0019) with an aim to provide first line of counselling in response to increasing mental health issues among people due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Remember: If you know someone who may be considering suicide, talk to them about it. Listen with an open mind and offer your support.
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