Suicide Prevention Day: What pushes someone to commit suicide? Here’s what you can do to help them

With an increasing rate of suicides across the globe, it is important to understand what triggers people to take such a drastic step? Here’s what you need to know.

Updated on Sep 10, 2020   |  04:50 PM IST  |  285.3K
Suicide Prevention Day: What pushes someone to commit suicide? Here’s what you can do to help them
Suicide Prevention Day: What pushes someone to commit suicide? Here’s what you can do to help them

There is nothing more devastating than losing someone you love, and it can be disturbing to talk about issues like suicide. But it is necessary to talk about an issue that has taken millions of lives around the world. It is crucial that we understand the reason why people take such a drastic step. What triggers them? What is hurting the person so much that they are unable to cope with the vicissitudes of life? 

It can be difficult to comprehend such behaviour for someone who has never thought of harming themselves. Regardless of what you might feel, you should always be empathic towards others because you don’t know what is going on in their mind. While people have their own struggles in life, there are some common mental health issues that trigger suicidal thoughts that you should be aware of. These mental health problems can increase someone’s risk of ending their own life. 

On this suicide prevention day, we bring you the list of the most common mental health issues that trigger suicidal thoughts. 

1. Depression 

WHO defines depression as a feeling of “persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities.” Depression is a long-term mental illness that impairs our thinking, behaviour and perception.

Symptoms of depression include mood swings, cognitive impairment, disturbed sleeping patterns, fatigue, unexplained weight changes, increased pain in different parts of the body, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in daily activities and a constant feeling of hopelessness. 

2. Substance Use Disorders 

Substance use disorders occur when you need one or more drugs to function properly. Even though the exact cause of the substance use disorder is not known, drugs, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress are some of the factors that lead to the condition. 

Symptoms of drug dependence include anxiety, depression, muscle weakness, nightmares, body aches, sweating, nausea and vomiting. 

3. Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder refers to a condition marked by unusual mood swings. A person suffering from the bipolar disease may experience extreme mood swings, which may hamper their day to day activities. The symptoms of the condition may vary from an extremely elevated mood to depression. The signs and symptoms also depend on the type of bipolar disorder. 

4. Psychosis 

Psychosis is a condition that affects the way your brain processes information. People who experience psychosis may either have hallucinations or delusions. A person experiencing psychosis may have thoughts that are not true, which can cause them to hurt themselves or others. 


Depressed mood, anxiety, lack of sleep, suspiciousness, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, unable to concentrate are some signs that a person is experiencing psychosis. 

5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

This condition is a result of a traumatic event that happened in the past. People suffering from PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the event has passed. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, unpleasant memories of the event, frequent nightmares, and intense mental or physical distress when you think about that particular event. 

Here's what you can do if a person you know is suicidal. 

1. Notice the signs and talk to someone you trust to help the person out. You can also urge them to call a suicide helpline to help keep suicidal thoughts at bay. 

2. Don’t pass unnecessary comments, judge or ridicule them if they confide in you. Don’t be shocked either, calmly ask them to tell you the reason leading to such thoughts or ways that might help them overcome the issue. 

3. A person suffering from a mental disorder needs your support rather than your sympathy. If they tell you how they feel, don’t leave them alone with their thoughts. Find someone who can help them such as a therapist. 

4. Keep reminding them that they are valuable to people around them and their opinion matters. 

5. Remove any weapons, medications or anything that they might use to hurt themselves. 

Some helpline numbers: 

Aasra - +91 98204 66726

Jeevan Aastha Helpline – 1800 233 3330 

Vandrevala Foundation – 1860 2662 345 (domestic); +91 730 459 9836 (domestic & international)


Fortis Stress Helpline – +918376804102 (for students)

Note: Seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner before putting to use any tips mentioned in the article. 

ALSO READ: World Suicide Prevention Day 2020: Know its theme and initiatives to take amid COVID 19

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Credits: healthline,, WHO, getty

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