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Suicide

What is suicide ?

The act of taking your own life. September the 10th every year is the International Suicide Prevention Day

Epidemiology

According to World Health Organization, Worldwide approximately one million people  per year commit suicide . That equates to one person per 40 seconds. There has been a 60 % increase in suicide cases worldwide in the last 45 years.

According to Botswana Police report , in Botswana between 2007 and 2011 1555 people committed suicide .

Warning signs / Symptoms someone will commit suicide

It is not always obvious that someone will commit suicide however look out for the following warning signs;

  • Talking about suicide or death – when someone talks about taking their own lives take them seriously.
  • Getting equipment to commit suicide
  • Withdrawing from social contact / isolation
  • Preoccupation with death /dying /violence
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless
  • Risky or self destructive behavior
  • Giving away valuable belongings
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they are not going to see them again
  • Personality change

Risks factors for suicide

  • Underlying psychiatric Disorder eg depression , bipolar affective disorder , schizophrenia
  • Family history of suicide
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Feeling like you are unable to cope
  • Stressful life events eg break up , loss of loved ones
  • Chronic diseases eg HIV  , cancer
  • Physical  or sexual abuse
  • Previous attempted suicide



Suicide prevention

Self help

  • GET HELP – contact any health facility , doctor , the police , tell people around you
  • Get the treatment you need and follow your treatment plan
  • Eliminate potential means for self harm /suicide
  • Get support network – friends , family , church etc
  • Remember that suicidal thoughts are temporary; if you get the help you need whatever you are going through will pass.

If you know someone who has suicidal thoughts here is how you can help them

  • If anyone talks about suicide you should take them seriously
  • GET HELP – contact the nearest health facility , police , family
  • Remain calm
  • Be supportive and caring
  • Eliminate potential means of suicide or self harm

Treatment

It usually depends on the underlying cause of suicidal thoughts.

It ranges from psychotherapy, medications to addiction treatment

By;

Dr Boitumelo Pule-Kitchin

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