Sanjeev Kotnala: There is always a signal before Suicide

16 Jun,2020

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I am not an expert as far as depression, suicidal tendencies, mental disorders and emotional imbalance. I think I do not have victims of these conditions around me. I think. I am not sure.


I personally have been near that zone a few times before I started valuing life a lot more. I am not talking about being stressed in professional or personal life.


I am emotionally sensitive to understand a bit. All it requires is sensitivity and willingness to lend help. You don’t need to be an expert to know.


Yes, Birth and death are two fixed coordinates in our lives. One we celebrate and the other we fear. And, there are moments of weakness or strength when one willingly seeks death. It does not happen instantly.


“For reasons we don’t fully understand, some people reach such depths of despair and pain that they begin to believe that they would be better off dead,” said Dr John Campo, the chair of psychiatry and behavioural health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre.


The current period is no different. In fact there are more possibilities of fleeting suicide thoughts cropping in.



You will be surprised that ‘Fleeting suicidal thoughts and feelings’ are relatively common. People contemplate ending their lives during periods of extreme stress or emotional disbalance, financial, family, professional or personal reasons. However, very few people act on these thoughts. They are transitory and last only for a very short time. The worst part about people dying of Suicide is that it can be prevented.



As per MINT in 2018, India accounts for over 33% of the world’s annual female suicides and nearly 25% of male suicides. As per Indian National Crime Records Bureau as of 2016, male rates ranged around 14 per 100,000, while female rates decreased from 9 to 7 per 100,000 over the 13 years. UN Health agency report released in 2019 pegged India’s suicide rate at 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people. These are huge figures. Yet, India does not have a strategy and the agency to look after prevention of Suicide.



There is always a period of contemplation and re-search. The period which decides which way the pendulum could swing. It is the period when any listening and togetherness of near and dear ones could change the future path. Then there is the zone of momentary madness and action. Here too, till the last moment, there is a possibility of disengagement with the thought.



It is like the volcano that keeps building up or the tectonic plates that are pressured against each other. Both times to time need a release of the pressure for the calmness to continue. The human body and soul work on the first principle of survival. Seeking death is not a part of SOP. So, the person sends out signals. Unfortunately, because of the taboo surrounding such thoughts, the signs are cryptic and coded. However, the messages are always there. It is different that we misread them or tend to ignore them as an aberration.



Thinking or talking about ending one’s own life should be considered a psychiatric emergency. And people really going through this zone rarely speak in those terms. Most keep their intentions a secret. They know what they are thinking or trying to do is not right, however, to them, life has lost its value or death seems the only alternative worth pursuing. When this happens, think of what torture the person would have gone through.



Depression, Anxiety, Loss of interest, Irritability, Humiliation/Shame, uncalled for Anger and even Relief or Sudden Improvement in behaviour are strong potential signals for suicidal thoughts. However, Warning signs are not always obvious and vary from person to person.


The signs are always there. Some of the signs are; talking about Suicide, finding out how to end life, getting resources that can help end life, withdrawing from social contact, mood swings, feeling trapped or hopeless, severe remorse and self-criticism, talking about being a burden to others, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, insomnia, Panic attacks, abrupt lifestyle changes, excess philanthropy- giving away belongings or getting affairs in order, meeting people as they won’t be seen again, saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again, being severely anxious or agitated.


Be warned these signs can also be demonstrated by fully committed to life person without suicidal thoughts.


So, be careful before you identify someone suicidal.



Prevention is the only way out. So, if you or someone feels like this, the best way is to Get Treatment, so that the underlying cause can be treated. Establish a support network. Don’t expect the friends and family to fully understand you. But reach out, so that people who care, know what you are going through. It may be hard to talk about suicidal feelings, and your friends and family may not fully Remember, suicidal feelings are temporary. If you feel life’s not worth living anymore, remember that treatment can help you resync the perspective.



If you know of someone with such tendencies, you too can help. Ask them if they are thinking about Suicide. Studies show such question and discussion does not increase the risk. Staying around and removing possible weapons of Suicide can Keep them safe. Most importantly, listen to them and make them trust you. Make them know you are there for them. Encourage them to call a qualified help. Following and being with them till after the crises is over.


Collectively these can, in many ways, reduce the risk.



Getting help or directing help to the person is important. AASRA runs a 24×7 Helpline ( +91-9820466726) for emotional crisis situations, mental illness issues, and suicidal ideation. Families undergoing trauma after Suicide of a loved one are also welcome to seek their help. They listen, and they care. At AASRA, you can get support from professionally trained and skilled volunteers. Other helpline. Jeevan Aastha Helpline :Toll Free : 1800 233 3330 . WEBSITE :  EMAIL : ICALL  – 022-25521111 . ( references only and no qualified judgement on their process and support is being made)


Take one step at a time and don’t act impulsively.



Reference :,,,,,



Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories