Volume 94, Issue 28
Thursday, October 19, 2000
|CAMPUS AND CULTURE
Fighting the rise in suiicde statistics
By John Michael
John Morgan, co-ordinator of King's College Centre for Education about Death and Bereavement, said most people see suicide as a problem, but for the person who is thinking about it, suicide is a solution.
For these individuals, suicide is an attempt to escape psychological pain. They suffer from tunnel vision and see suicide as their only option. Suicide occurs when pressure, pain and anxiety increase, Morgan explained.
When someone takes their own life, the effects can be devastating for those left behind. People often blame themselves, said Verinder Sharma, a psychiatrist with the mood disorders program at the London Psychiatric Hospital.
Typical reactions include guilt, sadness, shock and denial, he said, explaining when individuals with a history of suicide attempts finally take their lives, various emotions can be invoked in the people who knew them. "Very, very rarely [family members] are relieved, though they would never admit it," he said.
Suicide risk factors include a history of suicide attempts, mental illness (both diagnosed and undiagnosed), loss or bereavement (especially due to suicide), alcohol or drug abuse (including that of family members) and the experience of abuse or violence, said Nada Barraclough, board member of the London-based Ontario Suicide Prevention Network.
First-year social science student, Chris Dinney, said he also saw more stress as an issue for students, including financial difficulties. "Everything's more expensive. Education is costing more," he said
People who exhibit signs of depression for more than two weeks should seek professional help, Quinn said. "But, if at any time you feel as if life isn't worth living, go seek help."
Quinn also emphasized the importance of speaking frankly with doctors when feeling depressed and possibly suicidal. Patients should be specific, as doctors may not be aware of what is happening, or might misdiagnose someone's illness. Less than 15 per cent of depression sufferers get optimal treatment, he said.
Barraclough stressed talking with someone about suicide will not put the idea into their head. "It's okay to talk about suicide. Talking to people about suicide doesn't necessarily mean that they will actually kill themselves," she said. "You're not going to give them the idea."
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