Mental Health Matters.
The tragic suicide of the Indian movie actor Sushant Singh Rajput has triggered a lot of us. I’ve been inundated with messages and call all day/ evening yesterday by friends asking me to help them make sense of his untimely death.
Suicide is always a shocker. Robin Williams did it. Kate Spade did it. Anthony Bourdain did it. I often wonder too what it is that leads these successful, and seemingly happy people, to take that decision to kill themselves? One thing is certain, money, fame, social status, material possession certainly do not bring happiness. Happiness stems from somewhere else.
There has been enough research done to show how the number of suicides are increasing each year. The problem with Pakistan is the inefficiancy to collect data to compile the number of suicides and attempted suicides. Figures are sketchy and not all cases are reported. For more information, there is one article by Dawn News that will give you further insight into suicide in Pakistan.
The culture of shame is extremely strong in Pakistan. The religious and cultural values take such a strong hold on the people, that real issues aren’t discussed. Even in elite families, the younger generation may not necessarily open up to their parents. It’s a very real issue that truly needs to be highlighted. There are some suicide prevention hotlines (I am not too sure about them though) and. there are several therapy/ counselling practices set up in major cities.
Going to therapy is also seen as a stigma. A lot of the people who do go for therapy don’t tell their families. It’s hidden from them. These people don’t want to be seen as “crazy” and be deemed as “lunatics.”
Most often, depression is the cause for suicide. But behind that depression, there could be a series of emotions. that leads to depression: hopelessness, anger, betrayal, sadness, loneliness and a whole lot more. It becomes so important for us to hear out the person who may be thinking of suicide. Moments like this calls for us to be accepting, non-judgmental and to merely hear them out. They need to know we are there for them.
Mayo Hospital has a good series of advice on how we can help those who are thinking of suicide.
Reasons to Stay Alive
One book that has really helped me understand depression and suicide is Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive. (this link will take you to my book review in details). The book is his journey of how he lived with depression, which got rather serious for him and led him to think of suicide. His depression almost destroyed, but thanks to his good support system, he managed to bounce and learned to live again.
For someone who has come back from that point of rock bottom, from that point where they thought it’s the end of the world, they are often filled a renewed sense of living and gratitude. They don’t take a chance to even entertain the thought of suicide again.
The highlight for me in the book are the parts when he talks about how much he values his time on earth. Living with positivity, gratitude and thankfulness, he shares with us how he helps himself to live such a life.
Mental Health is real. It has become imperative in our crazy world
I can only encourage others to be there for someone who may need our help.
To those who feel like it’s the end of the world., I would strongly encourage to reach out. Seek help. There is absolutely no shame. There are some good people out there. There are people who will help you. You are never alone.