by Thilaka Ravi on  September 9, 2009 at 5:34 PM Health In Focus
World Suicide Prevention Day 2009
World Suicide Prevention Day celebrated on September 10 each year aims to promote worldwide commitment and action to save desperate lives from suicides. This year's theme, "Suicide Prevention in different cultures" should remind people that though suicides are committed on an impulse, the reasons may differ according to countries and cultures.

Alarming statistics show that it is about time the world geared up to stem the rising number of suicides in recent years: 

• In 2000 roughly 1 million people committed suicide—about one death by suicide every 40 seconds

• Suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide in the last 45 years

• Suicide is one of the three top causes of death in the 15-44 age group

• Though mental disorders such as those arising from depression, illness and substance abuse account for 90% of suicide cases, sociocultural factors for suicide are on the rise

The number of young people committing suicide and the reasons for suicide are multiplying by the day across the globe. Debts, illnesses, broken relationships, failure in exams, substance abuse...the list goes on. Mental health professionals agree that a suicide is a cry for help that went unattended. The rush of modern living renders people less sensitive to the needs of desperate lives around them. If the world learns to live kindly and lend a sympathetic ear and a helping hand fewer lives would be lost in suicide.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, NGOs and suicide/crisis help centers use different platforms to spread the message of opting for life and saying 'No' to suicides. Walkathons, skits, puppet shows, TV shows and counseling sessions help to dissuade taking the ghastly step of ending one's life. Bloggers all over the world have united on the Net to encourage people to embrace life and shun suicide.

As important as it is to prevent suicides so is the need to help those who have attempted suicide, to bring them some ease and comfort after the traumatic experience and help them get back on the track.

Some religions and cultures strongly voice their concern and discourage suicidal behavior by painting a dark picture of eternal damnation for the souls that exit by suicide. Eerie tales of ghosts haunting the world as restless souls that have left the body prematurely are replete in folklores of all cultures. But for those with suicidal behavior who aren't the kind rattled by hellfire and damnation— counseling is the most effective way to save them from jumping off the cliff.

True, living is a challenge. But dying doesn't solve issues. Suicides leave a trail of shattered dreams and sorrow for those around the dead person and dent the collective well being of the world by spreading negative waves of despair. Beginning with this year's World Suicide Prevention Day, let's be caring and discerning enough to identify a person struggling to come to terms with the business of living, reach out to help and encourage the person to embrace life in all its fullness. So stop to care for the "other." Go pro-life.

Source: Medindia
Thilaka Ravi/L

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