Safe Space

Let’s talk about suicidal thoughts and suicide prevention


It was not so long ago that the social media blew up with messages about suicide prevention and getting help for any mental health issues you or anyone around you might be dealing with.

Reasons behind this sudden attention to the issue?
News about Avicii, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain taking their lives. The world couldn’t just ignore these heartbreaking stories that hit us one after another, anymore. Most of us got on social media and talked about how sad it was, posted numbers of suicide prevention helplines to call and urged if you are feeling depressed, you should get help.

Three months after this death, Anthony Bourdain has been awarded 6 creative Emmy's for Parts Unknown. In the Argentina episode, he talks about headshrinkers, "Argentina has the distinction of being home to more headshrinkers per capita than anywhere else in the world." He goes on to say, "He needs someone to talk to!"

Being aware of what is happening around you is a critical step in helping someone.

India has the highest youth suicide rate in the world and mental health issues in our country often go undiagnosed. Paying attention to people around you can stop a mental health crisis from becoming a tragedy.

According to Dr. Lakshmi Ravikanth, Deputy Dean at The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM); few warning signs might unveil suicidal thoughts.

  • Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends

  • Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless and sometimes even wanting to die

  • Unusual mood swings, acting impulsive or aggressive

  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol

  • Giving away their possessions

Now let’s say you have noticed the signs and know that someone around you might be having suicidal thoughts. What can you do? Should you even approach them and if yes, how?

Well, Dr. Lakshmi Ravikanth thinks the first thing you should do is to engage them in a conversation, even if they want to talk about taking their own life. They need to feel safe before they will allow you to actually help them.

  • Never berate or scold them or tell them it’s tough what they are going through but, there are ways out.

  • Getting them involved in an activity may help divert them and give you time to address the issue slowly.

  • Try to not let them lock doors and remove all harmful objects and consumables. Encourage them to rest and sleep properly.

  • Gradually garner a support system and get them to seek help from a professional for whatever is the underlying issue that is making them have suicidal thoughts.

    Lastly, we would like to say that it is very important to have open conversations about suicidal thoughts and only when people safe will they open up about these intrusive thoughts they have.

    So this World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s start by making our homes, offices, colleges, and school a safe place where people can be open and honest about their thoughts.