K-pop star Goo Hara made it to the headline today as the second K-pop star found dead after Sulli died of suspected committing suicide last month. Hara was recovering from a suicide attempt six months ago. Media suggested that they (i.e Sulli & Goo Hara) were best friends.
“16 year old girl killed herself after her instagram followers voted for her death”
“Private university reels from two student suicides in space of a week”
“Depressed student allegedly commits suicide”
“Student found dead on day of PT3 exam”
What is suicide?
Suicide is an act of intentionally taking away one’s own life. The public often relate suicide to depression but depression is not the only mental health condition contributing to suicide. Mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders and anxiety disorders increase the risk of suicide too. Suicide can also happen due to impulsive acts contributed by stress, bullying, financial difficulties, relationship issues or even grief.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that an estimation of 1,000,000 people die due to suicide annually, representing one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020, the rate will increase to one death every 20 seconds, double the estimated rate and it is an alarming issue especially among the younger people. In Malaysia, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017 on mental health conducted among adolescents within the age group of 13 to 17 revealed that one in five youths felt depressed and 10% of them had suicidal ideation, while 7% had attempted suicide.
Conversations about suicide are never easy. Suicide is a sensitive issue and is a taboo. The taboo and misconceptions of suicide hide the sad reality that it is a crucial public health problem, which oftentimes being swept under the rug as it is not seen as a public safety issue that could threaten anybody’s safety or wellbeing.
Suicidal behaviour is a sign of extreme distress. It is a cry for help. Being suicidal does not mean that they do not want to live, but it is mainly due to them not being able to find a route of escape from the trapped situation they are in. The highlight of suicide is due to helplessness and hopelessness that might be contributed by poor mental health conditions or difficult life situations and got triggered again and again by environmental factors.
Why is it important to know?
Suicide is suggested to be contagious. One suicide behaviour that happened has a high possibility of triggering the suicide behaviour in others, especially those who has already has suicide ideation. As the current stress level in our society is increasing and sky rocketing day by day, there might be a chance that people around us are suicidal and it is important to check on our network whenever the media posts news about a successful suicide attempt.
Suicide contagion is an event that not many of us are aware of. People often mistakenly judged that a person might be suffering from depression whenever a person is found to have successfully attempted suicide. It may not be the case.
Suicide contagion was stated to happen to family members or close friends of the individual who died of suicide, especially for those who have strong connection or support with the deceased. The suicide contagion event may be higher if the person who had a successful suicide attempt is an idol, as that would be channeled to the celebrity’s fans.
In this case, K-pop is a current trend of our younger people and it is important to take note about their emotional change and get proper psychological help if needed.
How suicide happen?
There are three parts in suicide; thoughts, plans and attempt. Study suggested that suicide often start with thoughts followed by plans and then attempt. As such, it is important to note that whenever a person talks about suicide, it might not be a joke.
The thoughts woulds stay on and off for sometime and move on to planning stage whenever triggers happen.
This would be the second stage of suicide. This is a crucial stage to seek help as whenever plans are done that also means it is time to execute the plan at a suitable timing.
If an attempt happened and failed, it is important for both the individual and the close family members to seek psychological help and get psycho-education of how to prevent the next attempt. Six months from the attempt would be crucial time as there is a high possibility for repeated attempts to happen within that period of time. If there is a successful attempt, it is recommended that family members and close friends of the deceased to seek psychological help for grieving.
Signs of Suicide
Prolonged sadness and mood swings.
No future, darkness
Sudden calmness after a huge stress
Changes in Personality
Changes in Personality
Sudden and unusual changes in ones personality
Avoiding activities and social interactions
Often think too much throughout the night
Self-Harm / Dangerous
Self-Harm / Dangerous
Behaviours that are potentially dangerous to self
Life Crisis / Recent Trauma
Life Crisis / Recent Trauma
Eg. Financial issues, death of beloved, broken relationship
Preparing will, giving away things
Telling people about the ideation of suicide
Suicide is preventable but there is a need to take the first step to seek help from mental health advocacy. The first step towards reducing the stigma is to talk about suicide. Improving mental health literacy can empower people to make decisions about their mental health and to rebuild hope. People living with mental illness and at risk of suicide want their loved ones to listen and to show that they actually care. Sometimes, being a good listener can make a huge difference to someone and eventually marks the first step towards recovery.
Individuals who are in need of someone to talk to may call the BeFrienders KL at 03 – 7956 8145. BeFrienders is a non-profit organization which provides emotional support at any time to people who are lonely, distressed, in despair or having suicidal thoughts.
Be❦Live In Psychology is a mental health clinic at Ecosky, Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur. Our services consist of therapy, assessment and training. WhatsApp us at +6018 – 206 7313 to make an appointment.
Jackie is the director and counsellor of Be❦Live In Psychology. He graduated with Masters in Counselling from HELP University. He is currently practicing as full time counsellor. He has a strong passion in sex education for adolescents and youths. Besides his warm personality, he loves sharing knowledge with people around him.
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