Suicide is an act of attempting to cause one’s own death. Under certain situations when suicide may not result in the death of a victim it could be associated with long-term effects on health and trauma. An outcome of intense emotional or mental turmoil under circumstantial pressure, suicide is a major concern for the society as a whole. The perception of committing suicide as a sin or crime is an existing ideology in various communities thereby, considered being morally unacceptable. To be able to address this condition with utmost sensitivity through the implementation of appropriate preventive measures, the various demographic, economic and cultural factors attributing to suicide needs to be analyzed in the community.
Suicide is the act of bringing an end to one’s own life. However, an attempted or non-fatal suicide is the intent to cause self-harm which may not ultimately lead to death but result in long-term debilitating conditions. Literature has also discussed the possibility of assisted suicide through the indirect support shown by a second person in talking or assisting till the complete execution of the act by the victim. Besides, suicidal ideation is the thought invoked to commit suicide but no efforts undertaken to do so.
The reasons that could trigger suicidal ideation are many and it is necessary to create awareness about certain potential risk factors to address similar situations with concern. Individuals affected by mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar or mood disorders and personality disorders are at the greatest risk of developing suicidal behavior. The prevailing negative thoughts about life in the minds of these patients completely crush their desire to survive. Among others, those affected by chronic illnesses and subjected to physical pain over a prolonged duration of time often resort to suicide. Next at risk are victims of substance abuse such as drug addicts and alcoholics. The various physiological impacts of these foreign chemicals in the body and mind elicit reactions as adverse as suicide. A cause of grief or misery along with the misuse of these chemicals further aggravates the risks of developing suicidal tendencies.
The existing problems in the society such as social isolation, loss of job, poverty, relationship issues, family problems, physical loss of a loved one, being a victim of sexual harassment, could culminate to cause a perturbed mental state, a relevant risk factor resulting in suicide. The inability to appreciate the value of life due to hopelessness, anxiety and complete withdrawal from happiness or the pleasures of life could push a victim to the brink of the death tunnel. According to studies conducted, some other causes of suicide have been identified such as victims of the bully, prejudice and physical violence, those with a troubled childhood and marriage or the feeling of anxiety and distress associated with considering oneself to be a burden on others. Some people in the fear of superstitions and blinded by religious beliefs, however, no matter how much affected by these stressors, will continue to survive, owing to their cultural norms which generally, consider suicide as an act of sin. However, the contribution of the media and internet in elaborating the mode of committing suicide and portraying this act in great detail has proved to be detrimental in the sense that it has been glorified among the masses as an acceptable means of killing oneself.
In an attempt to identify the groups of people who are affected the most and thereby, led towards attempting suicide is largely driven by the economic and social structure of the community to which we belong. It is intriguing to observe that the incidence of suicides is most common among people leading an urban lifestyle, possibly due to the greater stress associated with work, making a place for oneself in the crowded but socially disintegrated city life. The statistical data recorded over a considerable period of time has suggested gender, age, literacy, employment status and marital status as some of the important determinants affecting the victims of suicide. Though we may believe that both men and women are equally at a risk towards developing suicidal behavior, studies support the greater incidence of suicide among women. Some of the significant causes of suicide have been primarily associated with physical abuse in marriage, family pressure for forced marriage and social demands such as dowry. Earlier, it was believed that suicide was common among the elderly with a terminal sickness, mental disabilities or in social isolation. However, in the modern Indian society today, the young adolescents and adults are a more vulnerable section driven towards suicidal behavior under adverse situations. As discussed before, due to greater instances of various societal pressures imposed on girls in terms of education, sexual abuse or physical violence at home, females are a risk group again.
Educated individuals are competent to secure satisfactory employment opportunities and improve their quality of life. The loss of a job is not only a severe blow triggering acute monetary crisis but also linked with trauma and stress which could lead to despair and distress leading one to the path of suicide. The support of family and friends in situations as this helps a victim cope through emotionally demanding circumstances. Living in a socially integrated society in the company of one’s family rather than drifting away to the concept of nuclear families have further assisted people to recover from related suicidal ideations bringing its relevance to light. The emotional warmth and love received in a happy marriage have also been shown to be a great support in combating other causes of stress among matured adults.
The need to implement appropriate measures in favor of victims of suicide to be able to fight through difficult situations and make a way out of their negative connotations towards life have long been recognized. Several helplines and NGOs have personally taken an initiative to undertake programs which could provide assistance to mentally, emotionally or socially disoriented individuals, at a greater risk, to reach out for medical support and help. However, to substantiate these strategies there is a growing need to create awareness in the society about the various behavioral symptoms and potential factors attributed towards the development of suicidal tendencies as such. There is a growing need to identify categorically among different age groups and on the basis of gender, those at an increased vulnerability towards a suicidal behavior. The development of appropriate means for diagnosing related behavior could be an added benefit for the psychological analysis of patients. What is most important, in this regard, is to not ignore or consider trivial any previously recorded behavioral anomaly or suicide attempt which if unattended could push a victim towards death instead of proving to be of help.