As news comes in of Kannada actor Susheel Gowda dying by suicide, this is the fourth suicide by someone from the entertainment industry.
The entire nation was shocked at the news of Sushant Singh Rajputs Suicide and while the investigations are on, there is no clarity on why the actor choose to end his life.
In the last month, there has been a spurt in the number of cases of people who have taken such a drastic step.
Could the Covid-19 pandemic be a contributor and a trigger in these cases?
A psychological response triggered in already vulnerable individuals.
Were these impulsive acts due to stress brought on by the pandemic and the lockdown, which prevented people from stepping out and socialization.
There is a huge population of people living alone in urban cities and away from families, support structures, and comfort providers.
These are students, professionals, aged, or any individual who stays alone.
The pandemic for many people who live alone added stress, by way of forcing complete isolation on them.
In a normal day to day routine, a person living alone has the freedom to venture out, and irrespective of whether they know anyone in the city, the opportunity to venture out, is helpful as human interactions.
Even if, limited in nature, these interactions in the office with colleagues, a visit to the neighborhood store, going out for a walk, etc. form an essential routine in the life of people living alone.
Several factors contribute to and affect the risk of suicide –
Socio-economic problems such as unemployment, poverty, homelessness, or discrimination, account as a significant reason for many.
These factors could trigger suicidal thoughts, however, most research does not distinguish between risk factors that lead to thinking about suicide and risk factors that lead to suicide attempts.
Research also shows that risks of suicide attempt include higher pain tolerance and reduced fear of death.
Several other risk factors affect the risk of suicide.
Mental disorders or illness are often cited as a trigger for committing such an act.
Almost half the people who die by suicide may have “major depressive disorder”; or one of the other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
It is estimated that about half of the people who complete suicide could be diagnosed with a personality disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsory disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, an individual diagnosed with any of the above illnesses can feel added stress as the society, in general, is not kind to such individuals.
The taboo and the ridicule that is associated with it, lack of empathy, knowledge can further push an individual towards such an act.
Research also shows that approximately 80% of the people who commit the act, has seen a physician within the year before their death, including 45% within the prior month.
Seeking help and getting diagnosed with any of the mental illness is not an easy road for the individual.
Prescription pills in most produce lethargy and clouded thinking. Side effects of these prescriptions can cause disruptions in eating habits, weight gain, and sleep problems.
Thus the diagnosis, willingness to get help, working with the condition, acceptance, and support system is a must.
There are also psychological factors that increase the risk of suicide.
Hopelessness, loss of pleasure in life, anxiousness, agitation, depression, bullying, suppression, and poor coping skills have been cited as contributing factors.
Social Isolation and lack of support systems have been associated with an increased risk of suicide.
Substance misuse is the second most common risk factor.
Chronic substance abuse, as well as acute intoxication, are associated, combined with a personal inability to cope with a particular situation or personal grief, bereavement increases the risk.
Chronic substance abuse is also associated with mental health disorders.
In recent times Media has also acted as a trigger including the internet.
The most vulnerable are the children and the adolescents, who through repeated watching, fantasizing, or glorifying death or being encouraged, may get caught with the idea and make an attempt.
As the internet becomes more ingrained in people’s lives, the mental and emotional damage it can cause is also increasing.
One of the worst by-products of the internet is cyberbullying.
The need to fit in and the need to be perceived as successful or other societal tags – pretty, beautiful, sexy, etc. leads to a constant need to outdo oneself and others.
One risk that has been prevalent over the years has been suicide challenges from [email protected]’ such as Momo, The Bue Whale Challenge, and others that trick and encourage the individuals into committing suicide after performing various acts.
Steps Taken by Few Media Platforms:
Many social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have saved many lives.
All the aforementioned companies have incorporated and have slightly different ways to report posts that may seem suicidal.
Facebook for instance assisted by a handful of experts uses an algorithm to track down buzzwords and phrases that are commonly associated with suicide” and according to company records has intervened in over 3,500 cases.
Similarly, on TWITTER Demi Moore and her followers intervened to stop a suicide that had been announced on Twitter.
Twitter followers of Chicago rapper CupcakKE alerted authorities after the rapper posted ominous phrases onto twitter.
She later thanked all her followers after receiving help.
While we may not know what triggered the above-mentioned people to commit the act of suicide, but we as individuals can be attentive and sensitive towards people who are in a vulnerable state of mind or affected by a certain condition or illnesses that may trigger such a response.
If you know someone who has mentioned, suggested, or attempted such an act, intervention, kindness, and supporting the individual through these times, can be one beautiful thing that you would do in your life and it could make a world of difference for the other person.
They are several support groups and suicide prevention helplines in the country that can help you and provide adequate support and guidance.