A step towards prevention of suicide in Sikkim

A step towards prevention of suicide in Sikkim

Suicide is the act when one ends own life intentionally. Several factors contribute to suicide for instance mental disorders, physical disorders, substance abuse, and many more. Some suicides are due to impulsive decisions made during stress or problems. People who have a history of attempted suicide are likely to complete it therefore they are at greater risk.

The most common method of suicide varies from place to place and depends on the availability of the method. Common methods of suicide are by hanging, toxins, humping, and firearms. Suicide has been the reason for death across the globe which makes it the 3rd leading cause of death. It is also highly influenced by many other existential themes such as religion, the meaning of life, superstitions, and honour. the audience that many of his admirers copied him. Fictional characters can trigger suicidal thoughts in many adults. 


Media houses and the internet should be more careful about what and how they show things related to suicide.
The most common risk factor in both children and adults has been trauma. Prejudice and bullying have been the reason for ending a life in many cases. Sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse has reportedly been the risk factor for suicide in almost 20% of the cases. 
The gambling problem is also associated with increased suicide and attempts. Pathological gamblers tend to attempt suicide and it adds to almost 12-24% of the cases. The tendency of suicide is three times greater in the spouses according to the reports. 
Suicides are also associated with genetics. History of suicide in the family is likely to be a risk factor contributing to suicide and it is more likely to affect the children rather than adults. 


Poverty and unemployment are also risk factors for suicide. The unimaginable amount of hunger, stress, and desperate life leads to suicide as they see it as their only way out of misery. 
Suicide prevention is a term used for all the efforts done to reduce suicide through preventive measures. Factors that contribute to the prevention of suicide are awareness, support, and therapy or help. Almost 60% of the people who tend to commit suicide do not seek help. 
Creating awareness in society about suicide and how mental health is associated with it is also very necessary.

Dr. Satish Rasaily, MD Psychiatry cum Postdoctoral Fellowship in Addiction Medicine, Singtam District Hospital, says that previously patients who were suffering from any sort of mental illness took years before seeking help from the doctors, explaining that spiritual interventions - the usage of local priests and shamans - were more culturally significant than visiting a medical practitioner.

"Now, in a few villages, people have begun seeking help. District Counselling Centres that are set up in all districts, psychiatrists and counsellors have been providing help, not for mental illness but also mental well-being." He adds that they have been sensitizing even the local jhakris about mental health. "In the last 3-4 years, the state's rate of suicide is reducing from a decade ago and I believe that is because of the various campaigns undertaken."
On suicides, he says that when one gets suicidal thoughts, it should be taken as a symptom of illness and visit the hospital. The psychologist and psychiatrist will later determine the cause of it but ultimately, when someone has suicidal thoughts, you must immediately seek help as you would for diabetes or hypertension".
"India has about 6,000 psychiatrists/psychologists in total and Sikkim has around 15, which is a good ratio for our population," says Rasaily.
He also believes that "if you don't want to get depressed, you should have a purpose" - which is all well and good, but what about those who do have one yet still find it impossible to keep on living? 


Working in the prevention field in Sikkim Sonam Tongden a very skilled & dedicated counsellor with seven years of experience in offering different counselling services to patients suffering from mental illness, depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviour, and substance dependence treatment. 
She has also conducted more than 400 mental health programs between 2015 and 2019 in schools, colleges, ICDS centres, Rehab centres, and rural communities in East Sikkim under the initiative of Grameen Manasik Swastha Abhiyaan.
Sonam Tongden has imparted training as a key resource person to develop the capacity of nurses, MPHW, Asha, ICDS workers, teachers, and counsellors in the East district of Sikkim. Tongden has also helped more than 500 patients with suicidal behaviour working as a Psychiatrist from district Hospital Singtam between the year 2015-19. 
She was also proactively active during the pandemic at Rangpo check post during the Covid crisis to provide mental health counselling service to all the people undergoing quarantine at Himalayan pharmacy college.
Currently, she is working with patients and families suffering from alcohol and substance users at the Centre for Addiction Medicine cum drug treatment Clinic, Chuwatar, West Pandam.

Sikkim's history of the stigma around mental illness and suicides is not an uncommon, unpopular fact. Most urban classes discuss these topics as coffee table banter and within that, one might find self-appointed pseudo-philosophers who quote, "There is the one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide", a statement written by Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus which is an essay on the absurdity of human condition, and somehow romanticize the idea of suicide. Shallow debate and perspective not only endanger the speaker's IQ but might lead another to question something far more disturbing.