This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms Shreya Nandan, Dr Shampa Gupta and Dr Kartikeya Ojha, four health advocates. They are affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), a cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this article belong strictly to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IFMSA on the subject, nor that of The European Sting.
Every 4060 seconds, someone in the world commits suicide. (1) The whole world has witnessed the upward trend in youth suicide rates in recent years, which demands a better understanding of the characteristics and circumstances associated with suicides, especially among the younger generation. (2)
Raising mental health awareness among the general population is the need of the hour. Normalizing the discussion of mental health issues and giving mental health equal status with all other aspects that make up the WHO definition of “health” would be a step in the right direction. (1)
The role of government in this aspect could be a game-changer provided that plans and policies are prepared with a clear commitment to the objective. Good collaboration between several stakeholders and sectors (3) as well as a meaningful participation of young people and experienced people during the policy development process should ensure a substantial reduction in suicide rates. (1). Reducing easy access to items that could potentially be used to commit suicide, such as nylon ropes, pesticides, toxic chemicals, drugs, etc., can also reduce the rate of suicide attempts among people. youth.
Basic steps that could be taken by future healthcare providers include – adequate training of all future healthcare professionals to detect the “at risk” population at an early stage through early screening. The overall role of spreading positivity can be taken on by young people and thus creating a support system that can eventually help lift each other up to success. Social support within communities can help protect those vulnerable to suicide by (5) teaching coping and problem-solving skills to prevent suicide risk in the first place. Programs should be delivered in schools and communities, making education and nongovernmental organizations key partners in prevention. (4)
Communities must provide nurturing environments for those who are vulnerable and governments can set a good example to enable them to do so.(4).
Apart from this, proper follow-up care and counseling for suicide attempt survivors is an extremely essential element in this aspect as the recurrence rate of suicide attempt is high. (2). Healthcare providers from all aspects such as pediatricians, primary healthcare providers and mental health counselors should work as an integrated unit for suicide prevention.
Mental health and alcohol policies must be integrated into overall health services, and governments must ensure sufficient funding to improve these services. (4)
And as health care providers, we need to extend our reach beyond clinical settings to those who are undiagnosed or who need treatment to avoid accidents. Access to 24-hour crisis care is one of the most important aspects of providing mental health services in suicide prevention. (4)
• https://www.ranzcp.org/news-policy/policy-and-advocacy/position-statements/suicide-prevention-the-role-of-psychiatry • https://ifmsa.org/we-need-to-talk-about-suicide/
About the Author
Ms. Shreya Nandan, Dr. Shampa Gupta and Dr. Kartikeya Ojha are global health advocates. Shreya, a 4th year medical student in Sikkim, aspires to one day become a general surgeon. She is passionate about using her skills and education for the benefit of humanity. Dr. Shampa Gupta, working as Cardiac RMO, West Bengal Hospital, is an avid researcher and wants to bring change in the future and in people’s lives with my knowledge and skills. Dr. Kartikeya, an incredible public speaker, working as a medical intern in Sikkim, is a voracious researcher. He aspires to become a compassionate interventional cardiologist.
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