India reported almost 1.40 lac deaths due to suicide in 2019 alone with West Bengal being third highest

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Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are spiking during the pandemic as social isolation, economic uncertainty and health worries take their toll.
Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are spiking during the pandemic as social isolation, economic uncertainty and health worries take their toll.
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Azadi Ka Amrit Mahoutsav

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India reported almost 1.40 lac deaths due to suicide in 2019 alone with West Bengal being third highest. Unfortunately, no age group or socioeconomic strata is immune to this.

Significance of Suicide Prevention during COVID-19

Dr Sanjay Garg, Fortis Hospitals, Kolkata 

The word ‘suicide’ is the most dreaded word for a mental health professional because it not only equates to severe devastation of an individual family but also highlights the extreme ravages of mental illnesses and a collective failure of society as a whole. Suicides are preventable deaths which unfortunately are on a continuous rise. Numerous factors underlie this increase including changing lifestyles, increasing demands and expectations, failing relationships, substance misuse, etc. India reported almost 1.40 lac deaths due to suicide in 2019 alone with West Bengal being third highest. Unfortunately, no age group or socioeconomic strata is immune to this.

The widespread impact of COVID-19 on socialization, need for personal hygiene measures, finances, education, travel and an individual’s life as a whole has brought vulnerable individuals to the point of breakdown. People are reporting multiple difficulties in the form of sleep and appetite disturbances, emotional lability, irritability, constant hypervigilance, inability to concentrate or focus, and a nagging fear of unknown.

Highlighting a few case studies Dr Sanjay Garg, Consultant, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences said, “We, mental health professionals, are seeing increasing patients coming with anxiety, depression and various other disorders including some who have either attempted or considered suicide. The elderly spouse of a gentleman who died of COVID-19 finds no hope in carrying on this world with no one to look after her. A middle-aged housewife worried sick about her son living abroad trying to take excessive medications as she finds herself unable to adjust to this new normal. A young recently engaged individual running amok in front of vehicles because of fear of contracting illness due to COVID affecting a family member. Besides these individuals, there are many others who are quietly suffering due to stigma and shame associated with both COVID-19 and mental ill health.”

The dreadful anticipation of themselves or their loved ones getting inflicted by this virus is keeping many people on their toes. Families are having to manage working from home, online education of children, lack of house hold helps and at times difficulties in getting essential things. Lack of recreational activities, increased screen time, confinement within four walls is also taking a toll. Even, close proximity of relations, though initially a welcome change, is starting to wear out of nerves. The increasing frailty of human mind leading to various forms of mental illnesses is therefore not unsurprising considering the current pandemic situation.

On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, it’s time to remember the martyrs of mental illnesses. The warriors who gave up because they were unable to receive the help they needed. Let’s educate ourselves about mental illnesses, reach out to help people in suffering and provide them with an opportunity to step out of the shadows and leads a normal life in the new normal.

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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