Seminar on Suicide intervention and prevention highlights mental health issues
Dimapur, September 8 (MExN): A one day seminar was held to observe World Suicide Prevention Week on the topic ‘Suicide Intervention and Prevention’ on September 7, organized by the Department of Psychology and Counselling, St Joseph University, Dimapur.
It may be mentioned here that World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), on 10 September, is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.
Vice Chancellor of St Joseph University, Dr. Gnandurai applauded the Psychology Department for their initiative on addressing mental health issues through the seminar. He stressed on the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence in every sphere of our lives, which invariably strengthens our mental health.
Assistant Professor, Ruovizokhonuo highlighted on the current data of suicide both global and national. She pointed out that Nagaland has a record as second least suicidal state in India accounting to 0.9% with 21 recorded cases in 2015; the ratio of men’s being higher than women in such cases. According to the data, the reasons for suicides were recorded as due to substance abuse or unemployment.
On talking about identifying signs and symptoms of a suicidal person, Asst. Professor, Sophunuo said, “we need to be vigilant about signs and symptoms which could go unnoticed. Especially of people with untreated mental disorders. A person with high susceptibility would show signs of mood change, withdrawal, loss of sleep and appetite, lethargy, making preparations etc.”
Assistant Professor, Vetalu Nyekha engaged the audience with biological facts by projecting brain images to identify significant difference between the activity of brain between a suicidal and non suicidal person. She concluded with research findings that, there are predisposing biological factors which makes a person more prone to suicidal thoughts and even attempt suicide in response to a stressful situation.
Assistant Professor, Beni Seb, talked about ‘Psycho social factors’ playing a vital role in a person’s thought/act of attempting suicide. She pointed out that a person with depression has 10 times higher risk of committing suicide when confronted with stressful events. She said, psycho social factors like family issues, failures, bullying, loss, unemployment etc., often leaves a person vulnerable to take drastic measures such as suicide.
Dr. Watinaro Longkumer ended the session by talking about ‘Assessment and Intervention’ relatable for both mental health professionals and untrained person. She discussed about certain myths and attitude towards suicide, and stressed that due to stigma and taboo attached to suicide, we resort to keep secret, deny and avoid the subject. She said, “Anyone can be at risk.” Highlighting on the intervention, she said severe cases should get clinical intervention by trained professionals, whereas a lay person could also prevent/intervene by being empathic listener, non-judgemental, avoid questioning and lecturing, and reminding the patient that’ they matter’ to give them a sense of hope and belongingness. The session concluded with questions and discussion from the audience.