Mr.Melvin David: “On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, He convened an event with a lineup of distinguished speakers, including Dr.Binu Joy, Mrs.Gagan Sharma, Mr.Pallad Vinay Kumar, Mrs.Karanti Kuthe, Mr.Kuruva Mallikarjuna, and coordinators Ms.Simran and Ms.Ishu Rani. The event aimed to create hope through action, with each speaker addressing various aspects of suicide prevention. They discussed empowerment, insights gained from working with clients and families of suicide victims, unique challenges in children and adolescents, the latest prevention strategies, and legal considerations. The event emphasized the power of collective action and was attended by a diverse group of participants from different organizations.”
Dr.Binu Joe: Dr. Binu Joe began his speech by extending warm greetings to the organizers and acknowledging the presence of various individuals, including Dr.Santosh Mahendrakar, Kuruva Mallikarjuna, and Melvin, along with other key participants such as Gagan Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Kranthi, Ishu Rani, Simran, and the entire team responsible for this meaningful event. He stressed the immense value of life and the significance of preventing suicide, emphasizing that suicide should never be considered an option. He called for unity among healthcare workers, highlighting the importance of coming together to create hope through collective action. He emphasized that action should always speak louder than words in the fight against suicide. He underscored the need for raising awareness about suicide prevention, especially among high-risk groups. He encouraged a non-judgmental approach when dealing with individuals in crisis, stating that being supportive and accepting of their realities is crucial. He commended the organizers for their outstanding efforts in hosting a national-level webinar dedicated to promoting awareness and hope. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude for being part of this significant gathering, thanking each and every participant from the bottom of his heart for their involvement and contribution. His speech was a heartfelt and motivating call to action, emphasizing the importance of hope, unity, awareness, and support in the battle against suicide.
Mrs.Gagan Sharma: Mrs.Gagan Sharama expressed gratitude for the opportunity to speak on assertiveness and “how to say NO”. She defined assertiveness as “the art of expressing one’s thoughts, needs, and boundaries clearly and respectfully, emphasizing the importance of effective communication without ambiguity”. She highlighted that being assertive means having the confidence to stand up for oneself and assert opinions, rights, and desires in a respectful manner. She emphasized that assertiveness empowers individuals to speak up without fear or hesitation, promoting healthy conflict resolution and strengthening both personal and professional relationships. She delved into the meaning of assertiveness, explaining it as a communication and behavior style characterized by confidence and self-assured expression of one’s thoughts, ideas, feelings, needs, and boundaries while respecting others’ rights and perceptions. She discussed the four communication styles: Passive, Passive-Aggressive, Aggressive, And Assertive, outlining their characteristics and emphasizing the importance of assertive communication for maintaining healthy relationships. She provided examples of scenarios and demonstrated how assertive responses can lead to more positive outcomes compared to aggressive or passive behaviors. She touched on the unhelpful beliefs associated with saying NO, such as the fear of appearing rude or selfish, and stressed the importance of being straightforward and honest when declining requests. She advised keeping refusals brief, being polite, and avoiding apologies or elaborate explanations. She also discussed the outcomes of not being able to say NO, including resentment, frustration, decreased self-esteem, and potential physiological issues like high blood pressure. She encouraged taking responsibility for one’s choices and not blaming others for difficulties in saying NO. She concluded by emphasizing that assertiveness is a skill that requires practice and introduced the concept of “rain check” and “broken record” no as assertive techniques. Finally, she thanked the audience for their attention and shared a list of references used in preparing the material.
Mr.Palled Vinaya Kumar: Good afternoon, everyone. Today, we come together to observe a day marked by the loss of countless lives to suicide. It’s a tragedy made all the more poignant by the fact that suicide is a largely preventable cause of death. When we delve into the subject of suicide, we recognize it as a complex outcome of various life experiences that individuals undergo. This journey begins in childhood and extends throughout their lives, shaping their ability to cope with thoughts of suicide. In this session, I aim to shed light on the experiences I’ve witnessed while caring for patients under my supervision over the past 10 to 12 years at NIMHANS. First and foremost, when we approach a patient under our care, it’s crucial to possess certain counseling skills. Establishing trust is the foundation of these skills, allowing us to discern the signs of suicide and intervene effectively. As interviewers, counselors, and therapists, our own strengths and abilities play a pivotal role in identifying the patient’s risk. I’d like to categorize suicide prevention into three distinct areas: identifying risks, minimizing or modifying risks, and managing suicidal attempts or suicides. Identifying the risks experienced by individuals contemplating suicide is the initial step. We must delve into their history, knowing that patients might not openly reveal their struggles. It’s the interviewer’s skill that guides them in obtaining this crucial information. Patients must express their experiences themselves, and this hinges on the interviewer’s technique. Questions about their daily life, work, studies, and recent challenges can provide important hints. Moreover, while collecting patient history, physical examination also offers valuable insights. We look for signs such as injuries, ligature marks on the neck, burn injuries, fall injuries, or fractures, which might suggest suicidal tendencies or self-harm. Cognitive functions are another aspect to consider, as patients often exhibit depressive cognitions characterized by hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. It’s important to be sensitive to the patient’s thoughts of suicide during the interview, as this can help us intervene effectively. Once we’ve identified the risks, we move on to minimizing them. Environmental modifications are crucial here. Removing sharp objects, minimizing exposure to harmful substances, ensuring fan heights, and having ground-floor accommodations are all measures to reduce the risk of suicide. However, despite our best efforts, some patients may still attempt suicide. To assess the seriousness of these attempts, we consider both intentionality and lethality. Intentionality revolves around the commitment level, including factors like strong room locks, specific plans, or suicide notes. Lethality assesses the harm caused by the attempt. High lethality and intentionality cases require close observation, often on a one-to-one basis. Sensitivity and trust are vital in these situations. Establishing a non-suicidal contract with the patient, where they promise to communicate any suicidal thoughts, can be a valuable intervention strategy. In addition to patients, we must involve their relatives and caregivers in the care process. Informing them about the patient’s condition, risks, and involving them in risk reduction strategies can significantly benefit the patient’s well-being. Community involvement is also essential. Communities should pass legislation, formulate policies, and create preventive strategies within organizations to prevent suicide. Peer groups and counselors within educational institutions can play a pivotal role in supporting individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. By generating hope and fostering communication, we can make strides in preventing suicide. A non-suicidal contract, built on trust and understanding, can provide a lifeline to patients in their darkest moments. Together, we can make a difference in preventing suicide in our societies.
Mrs.Krantee Kuthe: She presented on the unique challenges in suicide prevention, especially in children and adolescents. As a society, we often prioritize tangible aspects like education and physical health while emotional well-being and psychosocial support take a back seat. Unfortunately, there is a significant stigma attached to mental health, making it difficult for individuals to seek help, especially when they are experiencing depressive thoughts or low moods. Let’s shed some light on the statistics related to childhood suicide worldwide, specifically for youth between the ages of 10 to 24. Shockingly, suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death in this age group, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Nowadays, more teenagers are dying by suicide than from physical causes like cancer, heart disease, or AIDS. These statistics are a wake-up call, with over 5,000 suicide attempts recorded each year worldwide. Now, let’s turn our attention to childhood suicide statistics in India. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there was a concerning 41% increase in suicidal attempts among children from 1978 to 1990. This increase has been particularly notable among adolescents aged 15 to 29. In fact, an average of 31 children die by suicide every day in India, based on the latest statistics from 2020, showing an 18% rise from 2018 when 9,000 children died by suicide. These alarming numbers emphasize the urgent need to focus on childhood suicide prevention. Suicidal ideation, which is a critical aspect of this topic, refers to thoughts and plans related to suicide. These thoughts can range from fleeting notions to detailed plans of when, where, and how to commit suicide. Suicidal ideation can be sporadic or chronic, with some individuals experiencing recurring thoughts over time. Identifying and assessing the risk of suicidal ideation is a crucial part of suicide prevention. Assessing the risk of suicidal ideation involves a five-step process, including identifying risk factors, protective factors, conducting direct suicide inquiries, determining risk levels, and tailoring interventions accordingly. This is where challenges often arise, especially when dealing with children and teenagers. Their presentations may not be straightforward, and they often communicate through symbolic representations rather than direct complaints. To build therapeutic relationships with children, patience is key. We must create an environment where children feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and emotions. It’s important to avoid interrogative questions and instead use open-ended inquiries to encourage them to open up. Case studies highlight the challenges faced when working with adolescents. Adolescents can be skilled manipulators and may not readily share their thoughts or feelings. Therefore, assessing the risk of suicidal ideation requires a combination of clinical judgment, caregiver input, and thorough interviews. When assessing risk, we categorize suicidal ideation into mild, moderate, or severe based on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. This severity level guides the choice of interventions. Mild cases may be managed on an outpatient basis, whereas high-risk cases may require hospital admission. In terms of interventions, we should focus on universal, selective, and indicated strategies. Universal strategies include advocating for funding for suicide prevention programs, promoting mental health parity, and increasing awareness. Selective strategies involve training mental health professionals, while indicated strategies address individual cases through interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Caregivers, schools, and friends are the pillars of support for adolescents. They should vigilantly monitor any behavioral changes, social withdrawal, or signs of addiction. Building a support network around adolescents can help identify problems early and provide the necessary help and guidance. We need to reflect on whether we are failing as a society when it comes to children’s emotional well-being. Childhood should be a time of happiness and joy, yet we see many children struggling with sadness and, in some cases, suicidal ideation. It is crucial for adults to take responsibility for their actions and provide a safe and nurturing environment for children. Suicide in children is multifaceted, and early identification through vigilant caregivers, schools, and friends is key to seeking help and preventing tragedy.
Mr.Kuruva Mallikarjuna Mr.Kuruva Mallikarjuna began his speech by thanking all the panelists and participants who joined the webinar. He emphasized that there were 660 registrations for the event from all over the India. He said that the topics covered so far like assertiveness and how to say no, which he considers essential for reducing life stresses. He then shifts the focus to primary prevention of suicide, emphasizing the importance of intervening at the initial stages. He highlights that reasons for suicide can include depression, health problems, addiction, and stress. He emphasizes the significance of self- reporting behaviors and the need for open communication within families, schools, colleges, and workplaces to overcome barriers that prevent people from sharing their struggles. He also touches upon the role of assertiveness in allowing individuals to express themselves, even when they find it challenging. He mentions the negative impact of social media on children and adolescents, such as addiction and the stress caused by comparing oneself to others on platforms like Instagram. Additionally, he notes that media, including series on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, can sometimes normalize negative behaviors like drug abuse or smoking which will create negative impact on the adolescents. He advocates for responsible content creation in media to avoid spreading negative messages and to focus on societal well-being. He moves on to discuss addressing risk factors such as firearm availability, financial difficulties, negative life experiences, and health issues, particularly in hospital settings where patients with schizophrenia may experience dangerous hallucinations. Spiritual needs are emphasized as essential for building support systems and alleviating stress, with group meditation and community engagement programs being highlighted. He stresses the importance of identifying when hospitalization or emergency contacts are necessary and suggests various coping strategies such as exercise, reading, and psychotherapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy. He underlines the need for effective follow-up after discharge and offers advice on active listening, maintaining a nonjudgmental attitude, and using open-ended questions when communicating with individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. He encourages individuals to develop self-care routines before trying to help others and calls for the inclusion of mental health nurses in primary care. Community engagement programs are highlighted as a way to disseminate knowledge and engage stakeholders like teachers and organizations. He suggests planning and agenda- setting in initial meetings to promote the discussion of suicide prevention topics in society. He concludes by outlining research gaps in the field, including the lack of liability frameworks for psychiatric practitioners and patients, the ongoing development of telehealth- supported decision-making, and the need for more research on migrant populations. He references India’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy, which aims to decrease suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.
Ms.Simran: Ms Simran conducted Question and answer session, in which many doubts of participants been discussed. Following are the consolidated question and answer discussion, Here is a brief report summarizing five important questions and answers from the question and answer session of the webinar:
Question 1: How can peer group pressure be managed as a cause of societal issues? Answer: Peer group pressure can be managed by promoting assertiveness and encouraging individuals to stand up for themselves when they are uncomfortable with peer expectations. Creating an environment where individuals feel free to say no to activities they are uncomfortable with is crucial.
Question 2: Apart from counseling, what other methods can be used to prevent suicide in young populations? Answer: Prevention of suicide in young populations involves identifying stressors, providing information and resources for informed decision-making, creating social spaces for support, and early intervention by experienced individuals. Additionally, parental control over technology usage can be helpful in managing social media’s impact.
Question 3: What are the warning signs for suicide? Answer: Warning signs for suicide include changes in behavior, such as sudden happiness after a period of depression, giving away possessions, settling disputes, and making final preparations. Morbid thoughts and expressions of sadness, depression, or commanding thoughts are also concerning signs.
Question 4: What are the suicide risk assessment tools? Answer: The Columbia risk assessment tool is one such tool used to assess societal risk. It is considered more extensive and preferable for assessing the risk of suicidal behavior.
Question 5: How can study pressure be managed, and why do more males experience societal issues compared to females? Answer: Study pressure can be managed by identifying underlying risk factors in students who experience it and addressing those factors. Males may experience more societal issues due to societal expectations and gender stereotypes that discourage them from openly discussing emotional dilemmas and seeking help. These questions and answers provide valuable insights into the prevention of societal issues, especially in the context of young populations and villages.
Ms.Ishu Rani: Ishu Rani, Assistant Professor at Chitkara University, Himachal Pradesh, extended her gratitude during the Vote of Thanks session, expressing heartfelt appreciation to all the speakers and delegates for their invaluable contributions to the successful webinar. She acknowledged the collaborative effort of the Innovative Alliance for Public Health, Nursing Scholar Society, Chitkara University, Mind and Sex Clinic, and World Explorer India YouTube channel for organizing the event in celebration of World Suicide Prevention Day. Special thanks were given to the Organizing Secretary, Mr. Melvin David, and other key individuals, including Dr.Binu Joy, Mrs. Gagan Sharma, Mr. Vinay Kumar, Mrs. Kranti Kuthe, Mr.Mallikarjuna, and Miss Simran, for their dedicated efforts in making the webinar a resounding success. Ishu Rani’s heartfelt appreciation resonated throughout the event, conveying deep gratitude to all involved.
Conclusion: Assertiveness and Communication: Emphasized the importance of assertiveness and effective communication in reducing stress and preventing suicide. Encouraging open dialogue and teaching individuals how to say NO were common themes. Primary Prevention: Primary prevention strategies were discussed extensively. Speakers highlighted the need to identify and address risk factors early, such as depression, health issues, addiction, and stress. They also stressed the importance of self-reporting behaviors and early intervention. Impact of social media: The negative impact of social media on mental health, especially among children and adolescents, was a recurring topic. Excessive mobile phone use, social comparison, and exposure to negative content were cited as stressors.
Media Responsibility: Speakers called for responsible content creation in media, as movies and series can influence behavior. They urged content creators to avoid normalizing harmful behaviors and instead focus on messages that benefit society. Support Systems: Building support systems, both within families and communities, was emphasized. Spiritual needs, group meditation, and community engagement programs were highlighted as ways to foster support and reduce stress. Coping Strategies: Coping strategies, including exercise, reading, psychotherapy (especially cognitive-behavioral therapy), and self-care routines, were discussed as essential tools for managing stress and preventing suicide. Follow-Up and Active Listening: Effective follow-up care after discharge, active listening, maintaining a nonjudgmental attitude, and using open-ended questions were presented as crucial elements when helping individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts. Community Engagement: Several speakers stressed the importance of community engagement programs and encouraged participants to take the knowledge shared during the presentation and disseminate it within their communities. Research Gaps: Research gaps were identified, including the need for liability frameworks for psychiatric practitioners and patients, ongoing development of telehealth-supported decision-making, and more research on the mental health of migrant populations. National Suicide Prevention Strategy: India’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy was highlighted, with its goal of reducing suicide mortality by 10% by 2030 through various initiatives, including establishing effective surveillance mechanisms. Social Media Responsibility: Responsible social media usage was emphasized, promoting the sharing of positive messages and avoiding the spread of negative content.
The presentations underscored the significance of proactive primary prevention efforts, responsible media and social media usage, building strong support systems, and the need for ongoing research to address mental health challenges and reduce suicide rates. Collaboration and community engagement were highlighted as key elements in the fight against suicide.
Note: This report is generated by using artificial intelligence by Mr.Melvin David and is being modified as per the requirement for report with minute corrections.