SUICIDE: The Risk And Protective Factors

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Suicide is not a word uncommon in this our present society. There is hardly a month when someone will not commit one. Some killed themselves by hanging, poison and even jumping into lagoon. It ranges from students to working class, even directors. The question is, what went wrong? Why did they decide to leave family and friends behind? What could be responsible? 

Some victims was said to have committed suicide because of failure in a particular course, some because of poverty, some were not known. Lets take a quick look at what suicide is, risk factors and protective factors.

Suicide is when someone decide to take his/her own life without confiding in anyone whether wife, husband, children or family.

Suicide doesn’t just happen in a day, the person must have been thinking about it for a very long time. Which psychiatrists referred to as suicidal thought or ideation.

Acccording to findings, as at 2005, it was ranked the 11th major cause of death in United States and Canada. Worldwide, it is the second most frequent cause of death among women below 45years of age and fourth most frequent cause of death in men under 45years of age.

In suicide, there are some psychological conditions responsible, most specifically, mood disorders. When people with psychological disorders think about killing themselves, it is called suicidal ideation. But, suicidal ideation does not necessarily mean there is presence of psychological disorders.

Suicidal thoughts may range from believing that others would be better off if the person were dead to vague ideas of dying by suicide to specifi c plans to commit suicide.

There are, however, certain behaviors that can suggest serious suicidal intent and can serve as warning signs.
According to Packman et al., 2004, some of the behaviours are;
¶ Giving away possessions,
¶ Saying goodbye to friends or family,
¶ Talking about death or suicide generally or about specific plans to commit suicide,
¶ Making threats of suicide, and
¶ Rehearsing a plan for suicide.

Unfortunately, not everyone who plans or is about to commit suicide displays warning signs.

The risk of suicide is higher for people with psychological disorders, whether officially diagnosed or not. The three most common disorders are;
1. Depression
2. Personality disorders
3. Substance-related disorder

Other risk factors are;

Mental disorder associated with suicidal behavior (depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, or personality disorder)

Feeling hopeless

Prior suicidal behavior (suicide threats, suicide attempts)

Specific behaviors that suggest suicide planning (giving away possessions, saying goodbye to friends, talking about death or suicide, talking about specific plans to commit suicide, rehearsing a suicidal act, and/or accumulating medications)

Family history of suicidal behavior

Chronic impulsivity or aggression and low stress tolerance

Poor coping and problem-solving skills

Poor judgment and rigid, distorted thinking

Major life stressors (physical or sexual assault, threats against life, diagnosis of serious medical problem, dissolution of a signifi cant relationship, or sexual identity issues)

Breakdown of support systems or social isolation

Changes in mental status (acute deterioration in mental functioning, onset of major mental illness, extreme anxiety, paranoia, or severe depression)

Unsatisfying relationship history (never married, separated, divorced, or lack of signifi cant relationships)

Poor work history (spotty work history or chronic unemployment)

Childhood abuse

History of violent behavior

√ Being married (or having a significant relationship)

√ Employed or involved in a structured program (educational or vocational training program)

√ Presence of a support system (family, friends, church, and/or social clubs)

√ Having children who are under 18 years of age

√ Constructive use of leisure time (enjoyable activities)

√ General purpose for living

√ Involved in mental health treatment

√ Effective problem-solving skills

How can you help?
There are some ways you can help someone with suicidal thought.
1. Never leave them isolated
2. Make sure the environment of such person is free of lethal materials
3. Be encouraging and supportive
4. Encourage a depressed individual to visit a psychiatrist/psychologist
5. Treat/make sure psychological conditons are attended to by specialist.

Obembe Sunday Dapo (MPB NEWS+ Admin)

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