Editor’s note: Youth Ki Awaaz joins hands with the NalandaWay Foundation, founded by Sriram Iyer, to help break the silence around mental health, failure and suicide. Through Iyer’s book, “The Story Of A Suicide”, we’ll be talking about dealing with depression, loneliness, rejection, stress and various other issues that affect many of us, today. You can read the book here.
At least 15 people commit suicide every hour in India. That’s a staggering 135,000 suicides a year. In a 2014 report published by WHO (World Health Organization), it was noted that India had the highest estimates of suicides in 2012. And yet suicide remained a punishable offense under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which made attempted suicide punishable with one imprisonment up to one year and/or fine.
Recently however, this has come to change. The Rajya Sabha passed the Mental Healthcare Bill, the first bill to properly address the needs of mental health patients since the Mental Health Act, 1987. More importantly however, this bill took the important step of finally decriminalizing suicide. Considering India’s track record with mental health issues, this is a step in the right direction.
India accounts for 12% of global mental health disorders, a number which has gone ignored until now. Suicide has now been placed under the wide umbrella of ‘mental health disorders’, which means it’s time to break the pervasive silence that surrounds it. It’s not enough to just decriminalize suicide. It’s time to see this as an opportunity to break the silence around it, and with this in mind we asked you, our community, a question.
And we received varied responses.
1. Tanushree Bakhshi
I think the primary reason people resort to such methods is not being able to vent it out of their system. They can’t talk about it to anyone, the problem slowly eats them from the inside.
2. Radhe L. Tada
That is a subjective question and depends upon person to person. But I guess the state of mind of the people taking their own lives must essentially be the same as put forward by Late David Foster Wallace: “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
-David Foster Wallace [Brilliant, award-winning author and teacher, who died by his own hand September 12, 2008]
3. Saswati Nath
When a person is worthless about his/her self and after facing conflicts he or she may feel helpless about the present situation and may blame his or herself for this and believes that he or she has no control over the events (especially failures and punishments) that are happening with him/her and this makes his/her feel hopeless about the future and especially if the person is an introvert by nature and has a lack of social support then this may lead him/her to take a step ahead towards suicide!
4. Yasmeen Begum
When u are shattered from within, and can’t control urself, feeling of being unwanted in this world.
5. Merril Diniz
There are so many reasons for a person who takes his or her life. Sometimes I believe it is because of a lack of support from family, friends and those closest to you. And sometimes, I believe it is because you haven’t been able to self-actualise your full potential, and feel you have failed yourself. Sometimes it is because of the humiliation you face at the hands of society for a number of things. As society becomes more and more compartmentalized in our quest for space and privacy, our “aloneness” can also drive us to believe no one cares. I don’t believe the a suicidal mind cannot be brought back from the brink. But help and understanding is needed – from peers, colleagues, friends, family and society, as well as professional help. Let’s talk about mental health, suicide, and what needs to be done. Silence kills.
6. Mohammed Shoaib
The inability of being able to speak to anyone. Making up a mindset that the people close to you won’t understand a thing you have to say. Loneliness, feeling that it doesn’t matter to the world whether you are alive or dead. Indulging in things that are taboo for our society and shall prove fatal to the family’s reputation if people found out about it. Not being able to live upto one’s parents expectations. Insomnia,depression,feeling left out among your best friends, facing the reality that you can never have a future with the person you love.
7. Avni Parikh
Deliberate indifference, institutional betrayal.