“Did you really want to die? No one commits suicide because they want to die. Then why do they do it? Because they want to stop the pain.” – Tiffanie DeBartolo

What is Suicide?

American Psychological Association defines suicide as the act of killing yourself, most often as a result of depression or other mental illness. Most often, people who are suffering mentally or physically consider suicide as a means to come out of this pain that they are going through.

Reasons for suicidal tendency:

Studies have revealed that suicidal tendency is associated with psychological problems like depression, substance abuse, anxiety, stress, etc. But suppose we look at the current pandemic situation. In that case, we observe that issues like economic crisis, lack of job security, quarantine, and work-life stress contribute to the increase in the number of suicides in our country. It is also observed that the people who experience a relationship break-up also tend to have suicidal tendencies. People who suffer from chronic illness feel isolated from their routine activities, which might induce suicidal behavior in such individuals. Another major cause of suicidal behavior among individuals is the discrimination that a specific group of people faces in society. This includes the LGBT community, prisoners, mentally or physically challenged people, refugees, etc.

How can it be prevented?

The prevention of suicide can be initiated by solving the root causes of it. By offering psychological assistance to people who exhibit suicidal behavior is an effective way of preventing it. To provide help, it is crucial to identify people who are suffering from any of the psychological problems that may lead to suicidal tendencies.

Challenges in prevention:

People with suicidal behavior often refuse to seek help, which is one of the significant challenges in preventing suicidal tendencies. Another major issue is that society does not consider suicide a health problem, and this issue is not given the required attention and importance. It is also observed that quality data about the number of people attempting suicide is not available, and this leads to many cases getting unnoticed.

Why is suicide considered a crime?

Criminalization of suicide can be considered a result of religious aspects and moral values associated with the formation of laws in the olden days. Most religions consider suicide as a sin because it is believed that God is the giver of life and is the one who has the right to take it away. Another reason why suicide was criminalized was to reduce the increasing number of suicides in different countries.

Decriminalization of attempt to suicide:

Section 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA), 2017, considers suicide attempters to be affected by severe stress, and therefore not to be punished. This act also specifies that proper care, treatment, and should be provided to these individuals to reduce suicidal tendency. The Mental health bill that was passed in 2016 by the Indian Parliament decriminalizes suicide and considers the person who attempts suicide to have severe stress, and therefore not is punished. I agree with the thoughts put forward by MHCA and the mental health bill passed by the Indian Parliament. The suicidal tendency has to be treated as a mental disorder and has to be given proper attention. When we consider it a crime, there are high chances that people with suicidal behavior might not seek help from others, fearing the legal consequences, and this can lead to an increased number of suicides throughout the world.

Therefore, I feel that suicide has to be decriminalized in all countries.

 Sources: World Health Organization, The Indian Express.

Author Name: Anita Babu

Biography: She is a postgraduate student pursuing Masters in Psychology HRDM from Christ(Deemed to be University), Bangalore. Content-writing has always been her favorite hobby and she also likes gaining knowledge about new topics.