Why Do People Attempt SUICIDE? How Can It Be Avoided?

Suicide is a serious public health problem but unfortunately, its prevention and control are not an easy task. The consequences of suicide go afar the person who acts to take his or her life: it can have an enduring effect on family, friends, and communities.

Meaning of Suicide

Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the purpose to end their lives, and they die because of their deeds.

Causes for Suicide

A suicide attempt is a clear mark that something is severely wrong in a person’s life. Regardless of the race or age of the person; how rich or poor they are, it is a fact that most people who expire by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder.

The most usual basic disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.[1]

Risk Factor for Suicide

People of all gender, ages, religion, and ethnicity can be at risk of suicide.

The major risk factors for suicide are;

  • A suicide attempt in the past
  • Depression and other mental health illness
  • Substance abuse
  • A family history of mental health disorders
  • A family history of suicide
  • Violence(physical, sexual,mental)
  • Medical illness
  • Being vulnerable to others suicidal behavior like family members, peer, media figure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

Men are more probable to die by suicide than women but women are more likely to attempt suicide. Men are more probable to use more fatal methods such as firearms or suffocation. Women are more vulnerable than men to attempt suicide by poisoning.

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Threats like, “You’d be better off without me.” or “Maybe I won’t be around”
  • Expressions of pessimism and helplessness
  • A prior suicide attempts
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Changes in nature
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest

How To Outreach

Most of the time, when people say “I am tired of life” or “There is no point in living”, and they are given examples of other persons who have been in worse difficulties. None of these replies assist the suicidal person.

The preliminary contact with the suicidal person is crucial.

  • The foremost step is to find a suitable place to have a quiet and private conversation
  • The second step is to allocate the required time. Normally suicidal persons require more time to confess themselves
  • The third and most significant task is then to listen to them beneficially

How to Communicate

  • Listen attentively, be calm
  • Empathize the person’s feeling.
  • Give non-verbal messages of acceptance and respect
  • Express respect for the person’s opinions and values
  • Talk honestly and genuinely
  • Show your concern, care
  • Focus on the person’s feelings
  • Don’t interrupt too often
  • Not to be shocked or emotional
  • Avoid saying that you are busy
  • Abstain from patronizing
  • Evade intrusive or unclear remarks
  • Ask loaded questions should be avoided

How to Manage

  • Offer emotional support
  • Work the suicidal feeling
  • Use the ambivalence felt by the suicidal person
  • Focus on a person’s strengths. Talk with him/her about how the prior problems were sorted without thinking about suicide.
  • Refer the person to a mental health professional or doctor


[1]Strom, P., & Strom, R. (2014). Adolescents in the Internet Age, 2nd Edition: Teaching and Learning from Them. Charlotte: Information Age Pub


Written by Anne W. Hansen

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