Connect To Save A Life

September 10th, that is today, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Did you know? Honestly, I didn't until I read about it on Write Tribe.  Of-course subsequently I did some reading on the net on the subject. As per Wikipedia, the InternationalAssociation for Suicide Prevention (IASP), collaborates with the World HealthOrganization (WHO) and the WorldFederation for Mental Health, to host World Suicide Prevention Day. Did you know? Well, I guess now you do just in case you didn’t already.


Suicide. Scary word, isn't it? The mere mention of it flashes names in my mind’s eye. Robin Williams being the newest of the lot. It’s a sad and paralyzing feeling to think that lives are lost in this manner or rather people choose to put an end to their lives in this fashion, voluntarily.

'Perhaps it's the feeling of powerlessness in a relationship. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people leave this world voluntarily?'

Some facts for you from IASP (International Association for SuicidePrevention) Fact Sheet before we proceed.

·         Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds.
·          The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.
·          Suicide is the fifth leading causes of death among those aged 30-49 years in 2012 globally.
·          Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 years age group in 2012 globally.
·         Overall, it is estimated that during 2012 for each adult who died of suicide there were over 20 others who made suicide attempts.
·        World Suicide Prevention Day in 2014 is significant because it marks the release by the WHO of the World Suicide Report “Preventing Suicide: A global imperative." 

I don’t know about you but just by thinking about the enormity of this problem I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sick because why aren't we able to help these people? Why?

You know I’m not qualified to dwell on why a person decides to take this extreme step. I’m not. But I do know this that it isn't a decision that is arrived at easily. Definitely not. Just imagine how helpless the person(s) might be to actually sever all ties with life? 

Maybe they feel that the ones they love don't understand them. Maybe they feel lonely. Or, perhaps it's the constant need to explain themselves to their loved ones in spite of not being wrong always. Perhaps it's the feeling of powerlessness in a relationship. I don't know. It could be anything. But whatever it is imagine the lows a person reaches emotionally to jump off that cliff of life!

I was not yet born when my mother’s cousin brother committed suicide. He was married and his wife was expecting a child when he decided to take that step. I still don’t know what triggered that. These things were usually not discussed in our presence. You know my mother’s was a joint family. So many people, so many happy people living together. But in that cacophony of laughter, in that atmosphere of mirth, no one could notice that he was slipping away. His connection with life and every relationship was lost and that day he left. Why? I think this is a question everyone in the family has dwelled upon with regret thinking if it would have been any different had they paid more attention. If only!

‘What’s done can’t be undone. Unfortunately.’ 
Moving on.

This year’s theme is: Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.

The feeling of being all alone in this world with not a shoulder to cry on is unimaginable. And this often pushes people over the edge. We have to make our world connected in such a way that no individual has to suffer in isolation. And this is one of the foremost things that needs to be done to prevent people from taking the extreme step. Look around you and reach out to those who you feel have suddenly withdrawn from the world. Who knows you could be saving a life inadvertently?

‘Hold hands, connect and don’t let go if there’s even an inkling that the person needs someone. Don’t let anyone go into depression alone.’

Connected also in the sense of facilities for those suffering from depression or any kind of mental illness. Remember it’s an illness, a condition and it needs to be treated just like any other. So the gap between the person in need and the facilities, like counselling centers and care providers, needs to be bridged.

‘Bridge the gap between the person in need and the help available. Connect!’

And then connected in the sense that the efforts made in your neighborhood is in sync with national and international programs. You know a systematic and connected approach that helps with information and even resources.

‘We all need to work as a cohesive unit. Nationally and internationally connected!’

I think we easily judge people who take these extreme steps. We call them selfish for leaving behind families causing ripple effects. But the pain or the reason behind their act is something that we can’t even fathom. Their agony is inconceivable. Perhaps instead of acting in retrospect we need to try and prevent suicides. Could be just a casual greeting to a person or a smile that could eventually save a life. Think about it.