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Suicide is a complex event precipitated by several cultural, sociological, interpersonal, or philosophical factors. Even so, it is presently accepted that suicide is always preceded by "pain of the mind" intensely felt by the individual. At that point in his life the person contemplating suicide feels more pain that he can handle.

If there is a way to alleviate the underlying mental pain, the individual will spring back to active life. Most suicidal people can be helped in getting through their moment of crisis if they have someone who will spend time with them, listen, take them seriously and help them talk about their thoughts and feelings.

We believe that every person contemplating suicide should be given a chance to work things out.

  • Myths and Facts about Suicide

  • Helpful / Harmful Approaches

  • Warning Signs

  • Statistics

  • Myths and Facts about Suicide

    Myth Fact
    People who talk about suicide do not commit suicide The majority of people who attempt suicide do or say something to express their intention before they act. Statements like, "I wish I was dead" or "You'll be sorry when I'm gone," are likely.
    Suicide happens without warning Suicidal persons give many clues and warnings - both verbal and non-verbal - regarding their suicidal intentions
    Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. Nothing can stop them Even the most severely depressed person has ambivalent feelings about suicide. Suicidal people do not want to die, they just want their pain to end. If allowed to explore their feelings, with empathy and acceptance, without intruding into their dignity, most suicidal people feel that their pain is lessened. In time, suicidal feelings might dissipate and the person returns to active life.
    Suicidal individuals are mentally ill Most people undergoing suicidal feelings are healthy individuals. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but are not necessarily suffering from mental illness.
    Talking about suicide may give someone the idea Openly addressing the subject shows a willingness to help and is the first step towards providing help. Talking with someone about his or her suicidal feelings that were already there can lead to a lightening of painful thoughts. Self-destructive feelings, if absent, will NOT be introduced just by talking about suicide

    Helpful / Harmful Approaches

    What a Suicidal person needs

    • Someone who will listen. Someone who has the time, who will provide undivided attention in a non-critical manner without trying to advise or intrude.

    • Someone who can be trusted, who will treat him/her with dignity and maintain confidentiality

    • Someone who will offer empathetic and unconditional friendship.

    What a Suicidal person does not need:
    • Advice: No one likes to be lectured about his/her own life.

    • Criticism. Harsh judgmental attitudes can only make matters worse.

    • Intrusion: A curiosity to know more than what the person wants to talk about.

    "Warning Signs" - Clues to Suicidal Behaviour

    People with suicidal intent often let others know about their thoughts in various ways. behavioural, verbal or non-verbal.

    Visual / Behavioural Clues:

    • Changes in personality: sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic.

    • Changes in behaviour: Loss of concentration in everyday work, less energetic, exhausted.

    • Changes in sleep pattern: Fatigue, insomnia, frequent nightmares

    • Changes in eating habits: Loss of appetite or overeating

    • Sudden loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies or activities previously enjoyed

    • Anxiety about money, health or dependant relatives.

    • Appearing to be losing control over life, going crazy, harming self or others

    • Different from normal ways - easily given to tears or unusually cheerful.

    • Undue haste in tidying up pending affairs (making a will, taking out insurance, clearing debts)

    Verbal Clues:

    • Expressing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

    • Describing life or self as worthless, a failure.

    • Unable to perceive hope in life - no aspirations about future.

    • Expressions of guilt, shame and loss of self-esteem.

    • Frequent references to futility of life, death or suicide.


    Suicidal risk is greater when an individual is facing unhappy situations such as:

    • Recent loss or break-up of a close relationship (death, divorce, separation, quarrels)

    • Disappointments in career or financial status (sudden illness, loss of job, failures, debts)

    • Perception of being threatened (legal actions, physical attacks)

    • Sudden / painful / prolonged / disabling illness (mental or physical)

    • Dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

    • History of earlier suicidal behaviour.

    • History of suicide in family.

    Information Courtesy:
    Suicide Prevention Centre

    Maithri, Kochi is a registered non-governmental organisation working for suicide prevention in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala. It operates as part of Maithri Foundation Trust, a registered public charitable trust.

    Services offered: Maithri offers emotional support to persons undergoing emotional distress, who may be in imminent danger of taking their own lives. Maithri’s services can be accessed by:

    • Personal visits

    • Telephone Call

    • E mails and letters

    The volunteer present at the centre will spend time with the visitor (or the caller) for as long as is desired by him/her. No appointment is needed and no fees are accepted. Anonymity of the person who contacted will be protected. On receiving requests from persons or groups promoting suicide-prevention in Kerala, out-reach programmes are also conducted.

    All interactions related to Befriending, including policies regarding confidentiality and anonymity, are governed by Samaritans International's “Eight-point Charter of Befriending.”

    Vimalalayam Building
    Ashir Bhavan Road
    Kochi (Cochin) 682 018


    In the US, the Centers for Disease Control reports that:

    • More people die from suicide than from homicide. In 1997, there were 1.5 times as many suicides as homicides.

    • Overall, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all Americans, and is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.

    Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than are females. However, females are more likely to attempt suicide than are males

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