Talking about suicide gives an opportunity to save a life

Call 112 for support through tough times

As per the National Suicide Prevention Program (NSPP) record, for the last 2 years, there were suicide incidents reported in all 20 dzongkhags. 88 percent of suicide deaths have occurred in rural areas with 66 percent among married person and those with less education. Increasing number of suicides is also reported among the youth in the country.

As per the record of past three years (suicide status by dzongkhags) 2016 recorded the highest suicide cases with 132, with 92 males and 40 females.

In 2017 there were 106 suicide cases with 43 males and 63 females and in 2018 there were 92 suicide cases with 58 males and 34 females.

It is a serious social and public health issues that generally impact the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the society, stated an Australian volunteer, Carly Clutterbuck, working at the Ministry of Health on suicide prevention.

She said suicide prevention is about learning the warning signs and being confident to ask someone if they are contemplating suicide.

The most obvious sign that someone may be considering suicide is talking or writing about wanting to die or saying things like ‘people would be better off without me’ or ‘it would be better if I was dead’. Other things to look out for are any behavior that is out of the ordinary.

She said, “If they are usually very outgoing, they might become very quiet and confine themselves to their home or room.  They may have mood swings where the person seems very irritable then very low.  And again, we’re looking for mood swings that are out of the ordinary.  Reckless behaviour, like driving fast, driving drunk, or anything that gives the impression that they don’t care if they live or die.  Another sign is someone saying they are hopeless, have no future, no purpose.  Or a person being full of rage and talking about taking revenge.”

Clutterbuck highlighted on suicide happening in Bhutan. She said suicide anywhere is difficult to understand and talk about.

She said Bhutan has seen rapid development in recent decades, meaning more people moving to cities to secure employment and improved living conditions.

“Unfortunately, with that comes financial pressure, being away from usual support systems, social isolation, pressure to perform and conform, and competing for limited resources.  There is also increased access to drugs and alcohol which form a large part of socializing.  All of these factors can put pressure on romantic relationships and friendships which can cause further isolation, and all of these things combined can leave people feeling vulnerable, alone and overwhelmed,” she said.

“Suicide is preventable. While some suicides may be impulsive, in the majority of cases, there are early warning signs that someone is not okay or is thinking about ending their life. In these cases, it is important we all get comfortable asking if someone is thinking of hurting themselves or thinking about suicide.  Contrary to popular belief, talking about suicide will not put the idea in their head, rather it will likely encourage someone to speak about what is happening for them, which gives you the opportunity to help and save a life,” said Carly Clutterbuck.

Societal stigma towards suicidal behaviors poses a formidable barrier to provide care and support to individuals in crisis and to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

As per the report, stigma remains a major barrier availing mental health services and suicide prevention efforts. Stigma hinders people from seeking or accessing services such as counseling and support.

“Meanwhile if you’re very worried about someone or you’re having thoughts of taking your life, you can call 112 at any time of the day or night.  While they can’t provide therapy, they can support you through tough times,” said Carly.

About Usha Drukpa

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