? Why is suicide a crisis and needs crisis management techniques

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By Dr. Siamak Noviri

Clinical Psychologist

February 8, 2018

Attempting or committing suicide are either horrifying acts that leave the surviving relayives of the person doing the act devastated and bewildered. The community too is harmed and weakened by the act itself and thus suffers the many negative aspect of dealing with the aftermath and consequences of suicide attempt or act. In this article the harms and devastation of suicide attempts or acts are examined to understand why such doings need community and state attention and why it should be categorized as a crisis management issue requiring intervention and prevention.

Suicide by definition is the act of attempting and or committing the taking of one’s own life. Though very broad and unspecific at the reasons one might consider such act, it still highlights the urgency and extremeness that has brought a person to this instinctively appalling and intimidating deed.

When it happens either in the form of several attempts or a successful end, it produces such a shock of disbelief and guilt that lasts the surviving relatives of the person for a life time. The person himself or herself if still alive, will no longer be the same to enjoy life and productivity and to socialize and partake in social functions. Such lasting negative effects, therefore, need proper and broad attention since the health of individuals and their community is paramount  keeping.

However, to give the attention needed we must better understand the effect of suicide attempt or act and be able to quantify how and where it hits the person and his or her community in whole. To do so the following points can be made about suicide attempt or acts:

  1. Suicide causes extreme emotional and mental pain both for the person attempting or committing the act and the people living with or around the person. The degree of pain is comparable; by patients’ accounts and their surviving members, with the pain of grieving the loss of a much loved one or suffering from the pain of a severe physical ailment. The pain is recounted to be so great and unbearable that the only alleviating option seems to be the taking of one’s own life. In the case of survivors both the one attempting or the relatives, thinking about suicide become a frequent and comforting though which in absence of strong beliefs may translates to action. Such pain would clinically compel attention and management in any clinical setting and by analogy in society.
  2. Suicide attempts or acts are indicative of an underlying psychological trauma that has most likely risen from a psychologically contaminated environment and genetic predisposition. The environmental factors giving rise to suicide trauma has the capacity to spread both to various individuals and also to various levels of society such as the teens who are more susceptible and vulnerable to suggestions and copying impulsive behaviors. Since epidemics must be contained any environmentally contaminating factor be it a physical or mental disease too be controlled and eliminated.
  3. Suicide attempt or act both cause all sorts of losses. From monetary losses in healthcare cost, transportation cost, burial cost, to losses in productivity if the person were alive and able along with lost times and energy are only a few to name. However, the greatest loss comes with the loosing of loves ones who are members of our community and society and who are assets accounted for the many places, times, roles and responsibility they must fill and assume. Their creativity and abilities go lost with their departure or mental ailment that renders them unable and incapable. Their unique characteristics which results in their unique contribution are missed when and where needed and the society as whole is weaker and emptier without them.

It seems obvious that such debilitating and contagious capacity of suicidal behavior and subsequent losses cannot be ignored and disregarded. The emotional, monetary, and productivity losses of suicidal behaviors are too great to bear in individuals and populous alike. The capacity to spread and lead a way especially amongst the young is too dangerous to overlook and the pain is simply beyond human ability to fathom and absorb.

In short the act or attempts of suicide can be compared with the devastation of war on a nation and society however in micro-level. Yet, this small skirmishes of war raged by suicide slowly and imperceptibly takes its toll rendering a nation and its many communities weakened, vulnerable and prone to further harm and losses.

So intervention and prevention remain of the duty of states to take and develop way that reduce and control the occurrences of suicide attempts or acts. Contrary to the opinion of many, suicide prevention in majority of cases is only a matter of good planning and outreach. A tiny bit of environmental change deviates many who contemplate suicide and a great many more reconsider killing themselves if outreach programs are correctly and easily offered to them.

To develop those environmental changes or outreach program governments must take into account:

  1. Economic factors that negatively affect society

  2. Cultural factors that induce emptiness and disenchantment

  3. Environmental factors that pollute water and air

  4. Educational factors that do not translate into productivity

  5. Recreational factors that are too few or addictive

  6. And interpersonal factors that promote isolation, obstruction, hatred and discord

Should these factors be considered and implemented in policies, the society has the means to prevent and manage an endemic of suicide in certain groups. Otherwise the rate of suicide keeps growing and increasing further.

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