Mental Health Day: Every 40 seconds someone is taking own life

Hyderabad: World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has announced 10th of October as World Mental Health Day in 1992.  Since then the event is observed, every year with a new theme.

According to available information, every year about 800,000 people die due to suicide, which makes it one suicide every 40 seconds. Hence, this year’s theme is “40 Seconds of Action”.

The main objective of the WFMH is to raise awareness about the surging numbers of suicide deaths.

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‘Suicide Prevention’ is the theme of World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day (10 October) is dedicated to global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. WMHD is observed every year to raise awareness about issues about mental health, provide education on related subjects and advocate against the social stigma attached to such matters. This year WFMH has made ‘Suicide Prevention’ its main theme. WFMH is observed in more than 100 countries through local, regional and national agencies. Numerous programs are conducted which include signing the World Mental Health Day proclamation, public service announcements, lectures, and distribution of research papers on the related subjects.

Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health, including scientific and professional organizations, agencies for mental health users and their families and universities.

It is often believed that it is only adults who exhibit suicidal behaviors. But it should be known that many children and young people engage in this kind of behavior as a result of stress, violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, bullying, cyberbullying and many other reasons that may lead to suicide.   

Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kind of coping resources the victim has before him or her. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain. When it exceeds pain-coping resources, it results in suicidal tendencies.

 According to experts, suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.

There are numerous complexed factors that contribute to suicide. What is important is that all our actions must be geared toward prevention, they aver.

India had adopted Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 along with other countries to improve mental health facilities as a key part of the agenda. SDG is a part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda

According to reports published by the World Health Organization (WHO), In India  3 to 10 people in every 1000 persons suffer from some form of mental disorder. At the same time, it should be noted that India has the highest suicide rate in South-East Asia. Around 2.2 lakh people die by suicide every year.

The suicide rate among youth (15 to 29-year-olds) in India is one of the highest in the world. India also has the third-highest female suicide rate (14.7%) in the world.

At the time of Independence of the country, there were approximately 10,000 beds in different mental health institutions for a population of 400 million. Over the last 70 years, the population has increased rapidly but the number of beds has increased to roughly 21,000 which means that there is only 1-bed per 5000 persons.

 It is a sad fact that for over a population of 1.35 billion we have only 6000 licensed mental health professionals in India. Even premier institutes that boast of world-class facilities do not have counselors on campus to help students. Access to the counselors outside is limited owing to the high fee they charge and also because students often don’t open up to their parents.

A senior consultant said one should always keep in mind that there are people out there who can be with the mentally affected person. They will not judge the affected person or argue with him or her or send him or her to a hospital or try to talk you out of a bad situation. They are trained to simply care for you.

One suggestion they offer is that the affected person should tell his or her pain at least once in a week to a close relative or friend.

The experts insist that it is okay to ask for help.

  • Some suicide prevention Helplines are given below:
  • 7893078930 – Onelife (24*7)
  • 2254 6669, 9820466726- Aasra (24*7)
  • 9492419512–Anti Suicides Committee
  • 7330405064- Roshan (Students organization of psychology) Hyderabad.

Authored by Roshan Bint Raheem

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