Suicide is, globally, a major cause of death amongst people of all ages. Around 800,000 people commit suicide each year and many more attempt it. Almost a year ago, the World Health Organisation reported on the need for greater awareness of suicide and how it can be prevented. Yet the stigma of suicide still attaches itself to people with depression and their relatives and loved ones.
People who have signs of depression are often told to ‘cheer up’ and families can quickly become frustrated, upset and angry that their loved one is so unable to simply ‘snap out of it’. They would not feel that way about a physical illness – somehow a person with a mental illness is deemed to have a choice about how they feel and behave. This common attitude towards those with depression symptoms can lead to a greater feeling of isolation – and greater risk of suicide.
To people without depression, the idea of suicide seems unreasonable and illogical – it goes against everything our genes tell us to do (we are designed to cleave to life and seek to create more life). Yet one of the signs of depression is suicidal thoughts that, to the person with depression, do not seem illogical or unreasonable at all. To them, suicide seems quite a practical and necessary solution to end the feelings of desperation, sadness and despair, and to spare their loved ones from having to cope with those too.
Yet suicide is a cause of death that is entirely preventable. Talking therapies, perhaps combined with antidepressants, can alleviate depression symptoms. Discussing feelings and the reasons for those feelings with an expert helps people get some perspective.
Talking therapies do not just help people who have attempted suicide or who are depressed, they can be a vital lifeline for loved ones of those people, or for people suffering bereavement through the suicide of a loved one. When someone has committed suicide, those left behind often feel angry, bitter and guilty – all of these emotions are hard to cope with on top of grief.
Suicide is preventable with the right mental health care and intervention. Spotting the signs early can mean that depression symptoms do not have to develop into thoughts of suicide. Dr Ahmed can help you or a loved one. Contact us today.