Scientists are conducting biological and neurochemical studies to understand the relation between brain chemistry and suicide.
The word ‘suicide’ originates from the Latin words ‘sui’ meaning ‘of oneself’ and ‘caedere’, which means ‘to kill’. Thus, the term literally implies a deliberate action attempted with the intention of causing one’s death.
India accounts for 17.5% of the world population.A shocking suicidal data reveals that around 88,00,000 people die around the world, each year, by committing suicides and of these 13,50,000 (~17%) people reside in India. Considering the average age of Indian population as 29 years, the average age at which suicides are committed is 16.5 years, which is very disturbing. Stress is one of the major causes of suicide related deaths among the younger generation. Common factors such as, adoption of newer life styles and pressures of education and employment have led to cases of depression and anxiety. These mental disturbances have significantly increased the risk of suicides in the affected individuals.
Over the years, studies concerning suicides have been conducted in the field of ‘suicidology’, but mostly in psychology. A French sociologist, David Émile Durkheim studied suicidology in depth and also wrote a book named, ‘Suicide’. He elaborately discussed the causes, types and his observations related to suicides.
In addition to studying these mental health problems, scientists are conducting biological and neurochemical studies to understand the relation between brain chemistry and suicide. This study suggested that suicidal tendency is not only associated with depression, but undepressed people can also attempt suicide. The structures of the brains of people who had attempted suicide were compared with those who had not been involved in suicidal acts. This indicated distinctly different brain structures and differences in the reaction to various incidences. These differences were due to permanent changes in the brains of suicidal individuals.
These psychological and biological illnesses can be prevented, if not completely eliminated. It is vital to create awareness about the importance of mental health and mental health problems. Therefore, the World Mental Health Federation (WMHF) has declared 10th September, as the ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’.
Such initiatives are necessary to educate, to create adequate support groups across the globe, to elevate people from their difficulties.
Editor: Dr. Prajakta Dandekar-Jain