“People who commit suicide are weak!”
“Self-harming is for cowards!”
“You only cut yourself for the sake of attention, don’t you?”
“You seem fit and fine! Why would you even think about committing suicide?”
These lines are pretty common, isn’t it? In fact, they are so common that sometimes we do not even stop to think about their effects.
What do the terms suicide and self-harm mean?
- Suicide is any kind of injurious behaviour directed towards oneself for the sake of dying as a result of that very behaviour.
- A suicide attempt is a potentially injurious behaviour directed towards oneself that may kill the person. However, it isn’t fatal and might not actually result in any actual injury.
- Suicidal ideation refers to considering, thinking about and planning to kill oneself.
- Suicidal thought, on the other hand, refers to thinking about committing suicide but never really acting upon it.
- Self-harm refers to the act of deliberately hurting oneself by acts like cutting.
Click here to read what goes on inside the head of someone who is actually thinking about taking such a step.
What effects do shame and stigma have on such people?
The people who harm themselves and/or attempt suicide are often called weak and coward. This line of thought is more or less omnipresent in today’s world. These people are often humiliated, judged and shamed for their acts. Don’t you think that is all the more harmful?
The words like “coward, weak, hopeless, loser, failure” etc, that are associated with suicide and self-harm create stigma and prejudice towards these people. Many movies, journals, articles, and gossips simply add fuel to this fire.
This very stigma causes the people who harm and try to kill themselves to think a lot more poorly of their own selves. The thought that they are helpless, hopeless and powerless gets reinforced in their heads. This drives them further away from trying to seek help as the fears of humiliation, embarrassment and rejection creep in. Then there is always the fear of how exactly will people react once they find out about all the cuts on one’s wrist, for example.
Most importantly, the humiliation and embarrassment associated with the acts of suicide and self-harm lead to further loss of dignity and pride. So whatever self-esteem and dignity are left in these people is butchered mercilessly by those who decide to humiliate them. Sometimes, that is the last and final straw. Humiliating and judging someone for their acts of self-harm and suicide attempts never helps. Rather, it actually pushes them further towards killing themselves! In fact, sometimes people try to kill themselves simply to escape this shaming.
What can we do to help someone who might commit suicide?
The National Crime Records Bureau of India claims that nearly 40,000 students killed themselves between 2011 and 2015. Here are a few steps you can take to help someone who is harming or trying to kill himself:-
- Talk to them about it what they are experiencing. This will give them an opportunity to share their troubles and seek some relief.
- Try to help them without getting judgemental of their acts. Nobody knows what battles they have been fighting inside their heads. Moreover, we don’t know what has been pushing them to take such drastic steps. Please don’t jump to conclusions in the absence of knowledge.
- Connect them to a mental health professional. Such a person will help him or her figure out the reason behind their desire to harm and/or kill themselves. Furthermore, the professional will help to figure out better coping mechanisms than reaching for the clichéd blade, rope or sleeping pills every time one is distressed.
- Support the ones who indulge in such activities while they try their best to get better. Nevertheless, be very careful and vigilant about how they are behaving. In case you suspect that they might take a harmful step of any sort, inform the counsellor beforehand.
Click here to read more about how you can help people who wish to harm or kill themselves.
The humiliation and embarrassment associated with self-harm and suicide are often extremely dangerous. They lead to loss of pride, dignity as well as self-esteem. This can often propel people to attempt suicides as well as acts of self-harm. Instead, connecting someone who you think might be doing any of this with a Counsellor shall be of great help. Click here to connect with mental health professionals from Mind Solace and save a life from the clutches of self-harm and suicide.
Remember: You have battled with every adversity that life has flung at you till date and emerged as a victorious warrior;