Stress Management and Suicide Prevention

To find out the roots of suicide, we need to dive into the science of stress and find out why and how it affects our brains. A natural mental and physical reaction to the bad experiences of life is termed as stress. Constant stress increases the rate of health problems when you are unable to assess your work-life balance and improve it; you fall prey to stress. Research reveals that the growing anxiety and the environment you move in can increase or reduce stress levels. This impacts our body with increased levels of stress that can lead to suicidal thoughts. Besides stress, guilt is another emotion universal to the survivor of suicide.

Today suicide has become a serious issue in our society. People from different race, age, religion, marital status and gender suffer from stress. We don’t really understand the root cause of the issue; it can be in different situations and cases. There is rarely a single reason or a simple solution behind a suicidal case.

Some people find strength in religion, God or relationships to bear or tolerate the pain and hope to heal. But the ones who fail to put trust in anything are helpless and find suicide a way to put an end to their pain. Dealing with suicidal experiences can be very painful and incredibly harrowing. Every one of us has a responsibility to prevent suicide. It’s the people and the community that can work together and take action in preventing this dreadful mind altering game that the brain plays with itself.

Help and support can be provided by having a keen eye for situations.

  • Recognize the signs: Identify the warning signs of suicide.
  • Talk about it: Speak to a stress victim if you are worried that he/she might commit suicide.
  • Become friends: Support someone who is under pressure by becoming friends with them and actively listening to their problems and fears. You can provide them help by being tolerant, accommodating them with unbiased comments and assisting them in locating resources.

It’s helpful and useful to have suicide awareness. Situations that could contribute to being suicidal can help the suicide victim.  None of the risk factors predict suicidal behavior or attempts, but a combination of a risky cocktail would increase the effects on the incidence rate.

Risk Factors

  • Significant drug interactions or alcohol use.
  • Major traumatic life events (e.g. Death of a beloved, accident, losing a job).
  • Untreated stress and anxiety disorders.
  • Financial issues.
  • End of a relationship (e.g. Divorce, separation).
  • Bad performance at school or work.
  • Feeling depressed and helpless.
  • Living in isolation.
  • Severe physical illness and/or long-lasting pain.
  • Feeling of being a burden on others.
  • Death of a loved one or someone close.
  • Previous attempts of suicide.
  • Eating disorders.
  • A mental illness diagnosis such as depressive disorders, being bipolar, borderline personality disorders (BPD) and Schizophrenia.
  • History of physical, mental and sexual abuse.

Pay attention to suicidal communications, messages, warning signs, indications, and behavior to take immediate action.

  • Making threats to kill or hurt himself/herself.
  • Self-destructive behavior that leads to drug overdose and high levels of alcohol consumption.
  • Changes in the social pattern: Living in isolation and not interacting with people anymore.
  • Not following medical advice or taking care of themselves.
  • Expressing hopelessness and saying things like “no hope is left”, “there is nothing left for me”, “I feel trapped” or “there is no point wasting time”.
  • Frequent crying: Crying a lot is a sign of being unhappy. Such people need immediate help.
  • Sudden calm behavior: When they have decided to end their life they suddenly appear calm and happy.
  • Reconciliation: apologizing for things in the past indicates they are putting their feelings to rest.
  • Sudden decisions about making a will or giving away possessions may indicate a death plan.

How can suicide be prevented?

Give the suicidal person a chance to vent their problems and pouring out negative feelings and emotions to prevent a suicide attempt. Do not assume that someone frequently talking about suicide does not seek attention, unless they make an attempt. Suicidal behavior is a sign that someone needs help. Show them that you want to listen to them and help them by showing care and hope. Listen to them, try not to leave them alone and ask for immediate professional help. You are in a good position to take preventive measures to stop a suicide. Counseling can be beneficial for the person and the one assisting him. Coping with negative emotions or suicidal thoughts can be very difficult. A counselor is the best person who can listen to you, help relieve stress levels, stop you from compromising your health and provide a solution by teaching you ways to deal with problems, frustration, and stress in life.

There are many crisis centres available 24 hours a day to talk to you.