Publisher :DANIELS G. O
Written By Dr Peter Ogunnubi
*IDENTIFYING THE RED FLAGS OF SUICIDE‼️*
( _An article written in commemoration of the WORLD SUICIDE DAY, 2020_ )
Suicide is the act of killing oneself. The World Suicihde Day is marked every 10th of September each year to draw the attention of the populace to the tragedy of this preventive public health issue.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO):
(a). Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year (meaning 1 person dies of suicide every 40 second!).
(b). For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
(c). Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.
(d).79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
(e).Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
*SUICIDE PREVENTIVE MEASURES*
Suicides are preventable. WHO further places emphasis on a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:
(i). reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
(ii). reporting by media in a responsible way;
(iii). School-based interventions;
(iv). introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol which is a risk factor of suicide.
(v). early identification, treatment and care of people with other risk factors such as; mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
(vi). training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
(vii). follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support
Identification of early signs of SUICIDE i.e. THE SUICIDE RED FLAGS!
*What are Suicide Red Flags?*
Although there is really no typical pattern common warning signs of behaviour for someone who is suicidal, the following are common warning signs that relatives, friends and close associates should watch out for in anyone with the aforementioned risk factors:
(1). Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no way out of problems.
(2). Mentioning strong feelings of guilt and shame.
(3). Talking about not having a reason to live or that others would be better off without them.
(4). Social withdrawal, isolation or emotional distance.
(5).Making preparations: Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide.
Giving away personal items and wrapping up loose ends.
(6). Saying goodbye to friends and family.
(7). Change in behaviour e.g. from being a careful person to a carefree one.
(8). Change in sleeping pattern.
(9). Sudden interest in ammunition or poisons, or purchasing one.
(10). Sudden preference to watching violent or horrow movies.
(11). Sudden calmness: Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made a decision to end his or her life. Sudden desire to make peace with everyone the suicidal person perceives himself or herself to have wronged.
(12).Threatening or talking about suicide: From 50% to 75% of those considering suicide will give someone — a friend or relative — a warning sign. However, not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. Therefore, every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
It is important to note that suicide in most cases don’t just occur instantly. More often than none, the sufferer would have had a slight thought about it ( _SUICIDAL IDEATION_ ), then as the situation of the sufferer worsens, the thought of dying becomes more intense ( _SUICIDAL INTENT_ ), then he or she begins to consider different ways to do this ( _SUICIDAL PLAN_ ) and if at this stage there is no intervention, he or she may carry out the plan ( _SUICIDAL ATTEMPT_ ). The attempt if successful is now termed _(SUICIDE)_ i.e the person is said to have died by SUICIDE.
Knowing that suicide once committed is irreversible, all hands must therefore be on deck to prevent it by watching out for these SUICIDE RED FLAGS.
Prevention they say is not only cheaper, but better than cure.
*(c) Dr. Oluseun Peter OGUNNUBI*
_M.B.Ch.B(Ogun); MPH(Nicaragua); certLMIH(Washington); FWACP_
Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria & Consultant Psychiatrist, Grace Cottage Clinic, Lagos-Nigeria.
(SM): @minddrnubipeter o