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The relationship between suicidal ideas and depression

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This project is researched and conducted to explore the relationship between suicidal ideas and depression. The analysis revealed that depression has the most contribution in predicting suicidal thoughts and behaviors whereas depression has a strongly positive relationship with suicidal ideations.

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Depression, suicidal thoughts and mental health, these are the words that most of we people have a hard time in acknowledging or discussing comfortably, let alone seeking any support for. Depression and sadness are so consistent truth in human life and this is very important to understand how undiagnosed, untreated and mistreated depression unfortunately impacts our community negatively. In fact, studies show that approximately people who commit suicide suffer from major depression from initial period. Suicide is accepted as a fundamental general health problem around the globe that is a major and serious issue for psychotherapists, psychologists and other specialists who are involved in youth’s welfare and psychological health problem. Suicide has turned out to be the third major cause of death among the adolescents and youths .The risk factors of this problem are psychological disorders and socio-biological and family factors. About 60 percent of people who commit suicide have had a major mood disorder. This is how, depression is one of core reasons of suicidal behaviors.

What is depression?

Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected worldwide. Depression is different from casual and ordinary mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life that stays for temporary period of time. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. Depression is a kind of common but serious illness, a depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. And the overall daily life too. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who love and care for him or her. It can cause the affected person to suffer in greater extent and function poorly at work, institutions, at school and in the family. Depression is undoubtedly an illness or disease, never a weakness or a character defect. Depression can get a lot better through proper treatment. This cannot be a matter of social taboo. Rather this deserves to be considered like an illness or mental disorder and should be treated with proper medication or counseling approaches like one would seek for if he or she suffered from physical illness without any hesitation.

Causes

There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it tends to result from a multiple combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological, socio-economic factors.

Depression’s common risk factors are

1. Family history or genetics provoked:

When we see any of our family members going through depression, the same thought or feeling tends to cross our mind too. This is inevitable that we are very much influenced by our families. Or if someone had a family record of committing suicide or attempting suicide by their loved ones, then one is also provoked by his or her unconscious minds towards depression and suicidal thoughts.

2. Major life events:

The major life events can include getting divorce, retirement, death of loved one/s, loss, abortion which plays role in moving someone towards depression.

3. Conflict:

Conflicts with family and friends also hampers our happiness too, we fail to keep our focuses on sound lifestyle which might lead to sadness and depression too.

Symptoms:

Persistent sadness, anxiety, or empty mood, feelings of low, vagueness, hopelessness or pessimism.

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, decreased energy, fatigue, being isolated and slowed down and lethargic.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions , insomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping tendency.

Appetite and weight losing, or overeating and weight gaining, random thoughts of death or suicide, contemplating suicide and suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal behavior

Suicide is the 14th leading reason of the death worldwide. Every year more than 800 000 people take their own lives and there are many more men who are vulnerable enough to attempt suicide. The general term suicidal behavior refers to thoughts and behaviors related to one’s intentionally trying to kill himself on purpose. Most suicide attempts do not result in death. Many of these attempts are done in a way that makes rescue possible. These attempts are often a cry for help. How depression can end up being the core risk factor of suicide

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people; however the incidence of attempted suicide is much more. It has been observed that after puberty, rate of suicide increases with age until it stabilizes in young adulthood. This increase in suicide may be associated with the onset and increase in depressive and other disorders during adolescents as compare to childhood as well as greater suicidal intent with age. As compare to adult males, adolescent males complete suicide at rates approximately five times higher than rates for adolescent’s females it is estimated that about 60 percent of people who commit suicide have had a mood disorder (e.g., major depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia). Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense. Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing.

Relating to real life instances and personal experience

Depression is so inevitable in human life. In some stages of life we all experience this through different events and we also see our loved ones struggling with this. In terms of real life example, I can mention my elder sister’s clinical depression that she was going through because of her academic failure, failed romance and also as a result of watching our parents’ constant fight. She confined herself to only her bedroom and did not talk to us much. I was in my 11th grade and she was running her third or fourth semester probably. She used to contemplate about suicide a lot, one day she asked me if I miss her when she commits suicide while laughing. So I never took it seriously thinking that she was joking around and one day after suffering from chronic severe depression she actually overdosed on sleeping pills. That was a total mess and very uncomfortable experience for me and my parents. Later when I asked her about this, she only said that she thought everyone could have been better off without her and life was ridiculously cruel and unfair to her.

And about my personal experience I can relate one here when I was going through my toxic relationship, where I had to suffer from verbal and emotional abuse, I was experiencing the chronic sadness for months after months that ultimately turned into depression gradually. I remember my over-possessive ex yelling at me frequently for minor issues that I felt so frustrated and low later at night. Gradually this led me to isolation and a feeling of inferiority. I think I was too young and ignorant to understand the depression I was going through. I believe this was because I did not have the proper education of what the term depression actually was. Now when I look back at those days, I can connect the dots and finally now I realize how miserable and helpless I used to feel back then.

What I really realize from these experiences is, we lacked the knowledge of depression and how to overcome it with proper treatments. Firstly we failed to identify this a disease or illness, and secondly we tend to avoid talking or sharing our low feeling and we even try to escape our frustration thinking that it is better not to accept it as we might get misunderstood or judged.

Case study

The renowned vocalist, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, (41), apparently committed suicide by hanging himself. Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, whose screeching vocals helped the rock-rap band become one of the most commercially successful acts in the 2000s.The Grammy Award-winning group sold more than 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, which featured the megahit and anthem, In the End. They sold another 6 million with 2003’smultiplatinum Meteora. Both albums explored feelings of frustration and fury. Linkin Park released their most recent album, One More Light, in May.. The last song of Chester started with “I don’t like my mind right now.” In spite of having all these fame, family, success, he was compelled to commit suicide. It shows how difficult is it to control yourself when you are that depressed and end up committing suicide. There exists other famous singers too who also battled depression throughout their whole life and eventually was driven to suicide. Here, Kurt Cobain can be named and also Vincent Van Gogh who was a very influential painter. So many successful scientists, journalists, celebrities and other personalities committed suicide after struggling with suicide for a long time.

The case study of Chester Bennington definitely shows us how dangerous depression can turn into to be. Even after getting such achievements and success and monetary affordability, when someone commits suicide, this shows that something is going very wrong. And this is what untreated depression is, depression is nothing to keep hidden or repressed, repressed feelings of frustration ends up being life threads.

Recent scenario and statistics of suicide:

More than 8, 00,000 people die by committing suicide every year. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.

Around one person is vulnerable enough to commit every 40 seconds.

75% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

About 60 percent of people who commit suicide have had a major mood disorder.

Suicide globally was estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998.

By 2020 suicide is projected to be 2.4% of total deaths.

While searching for the occupations that hold the higher risk for suicidal tendency, I figured out that professional therapists are one of those occupation. Professional therapists refer to psychiatrists and psychologist whereas there is a slight difference between the two groups. Psychiatrists are mainly the medical doctors who are allowed to prescribe us anti-depressants and medications and also can offer therapy if needed. On the other hand, psychologists are the people who essentially treats through psychotherapy and behavioral approaches like talk therapy. This might happen to them also because at the end of the day we all are human beings, we all are vulnerable to our very own emotional experience and feeling and we all want to be loved and taken care of by our closed ones.

Prevention approaches

Prevention is better than cure. The problem is getting severe gradually. It is only better to take control measures, if necessary prevention is taken properly. It’s all our necessary duty to talk and spread more awareness to prevent suicidal thoughts and attempts and stay more close to people we love and care for. There are few points given below-

Community SP initiatives

Responding to communities’ identified needs.

Change selected policies and practice that promote mental wellbeing and resilience.

Increasing awareness and knowledge.

Discussing and improving social norms. Increasing and encouraging early help seeking mentality.

Universal prevention strategies:

The betterment of the quality of people’s lives thereby reducing stress.

Selective strategies and techniques conducted in schools and institutions so that depressed and suicidal individuals can be identified and provided treatments before they harm or hurt themselves physically.

Focusing on high-risk and vulnerable groups who are already diagnosed as depressed.

Assert religious and socio-cultural beliefs that discourage it and encourage people to talk more about it.

Psychiatric assessment:

Suicidal behaviors are essentially the symptoms of underlying mental health problems. Therefore, a suicide risk assessment cannot be undertaken in isolation from an overall mental health assessment.

Driven values:

Inspiring hope, love and purpose.

Preserving dignity, counter stigma, self-worth, stereotypes, and discrimination.

Encourage people, families and communities to ensure a healthy lifestyle to every individual that they deserves.

Apart from those steps very few immediate step like

Education and awareness:

We must educate ourselves about depression so that we can identify what exactly depression is and make it understand to our loved ones too. We need to tell ourselves and others that there is nothing to hesitate or to think ourselves inferior if we go through depression period. Depression and sadness is so consistent that no one can escape this.

Counselling:

This refers to the expert assistance we can seek for while battling depression.

Cognitive behavioral therapy. (CBT)

Psychoanalytical approaches.

Medication. (Through sedatives, sleeping pills, Pain relievers)

Will be much effective for reducing suicide and depression. As there are so many taboos like not getting counseling’s tips, sharing everything about life, failure stories etc.

Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. To conclude, I want to mention about the superstition, taboo of our society which are the main reasons of depression as well as suicidal attempts. The relation between suicide and depression is quite clear now. It’s our responsibility to prevent it as the problem is getting severe day by day. Only our awareness, education and helping hand can change this phenomenon. If we think someone is in immediate danger, we should not leave him or her alone, rather we need to stay there to make them feel better and to improve their way of thinking in a positive way. Besides, the counseling, taking therapy should be promoted as much as possible and make people comfortable to take those assistance and lead a sound and healthy physical and mental wellbeing, because each and everyone deserves happiness.

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