Political Warfare Bureau,M.N.D.PostDate: 2017/05/01
Care more for Less Self-harm
By Zhuang Yuling, Counselor, Mental Health Center of Central Region of Ministry of National Defense
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), probably one million people died in 2000 by suicide, a top-ten death cause of death in every country. Data published by the Statistics Office of the Department of Health, Executive Yuan reveals that more than 4,000 suicide cases were recorded in 2005 with a record-breaking death count (4,282) and crude death rate (18.8/100,000), making suicide the ninth cause of death among our citizens. Analysis of deaths by suicide in 2005 suggests a rising trend regardless of gender or age. Undoubtedly suicide prevention has become a critical task in the 21st Century.
Suicide brings a tremendous shock to our society, and its effects among the armed forces are particularly complicated and interweaving. Can suicide be prevented? What kind of people tend to commit suicide? Questions like these have been focal points of study. According to the ex post facto study on suicide by Prof. Zheng, Tai-an of Academia Sinica, 58% of suicide victims have visited physicians three months before their suicides and more than 80% of them have shown signs of potential suicide by confiding their suicidal intention and message to others. Study of the literature study suggests suicide victims are seeking escape from present hardship rather than death itself; if the factors of such hardship can be relieved or resolved through companionship, the possibility of further suicide attempts can be reduced.
Field studies find a high possibility of repeated suicide attempts among self-annihilators if their problems remained unsolved, weary mindsets not handled immediately, environment unchanged, or emotions not pacified properly, and more fatal methods are usually adopted in such repeated attempts, causing permanent harm to themselves and their family and friends.
The following is a brief description about precautionary procedures for handling stress for oneself or one’s fellow soldiers:
1. Immediate care and encouragement: Any response to a self-annihilator can reduce more or less the sense of loneliness. The key is never ignoring any message conveyed. Listen attentively to their condition, give empathy and support, and, at the same time, assess the danger by evaluating the lethality of the tool or psychological condition.
2. Contact a support network: Take the initiative and establish a support network by contacting other people who can be helpful to jointly observe the potential suicide’s physical and mental conditions. More people giving help allows more options and reduces the workload of the helper.
3. Professional service intervention: Provide appropriate mental health services, mental health counseling, and social resource intervention to reduce danger. The situation can be resolved earlier with professional help.
Suicide prevention in practice begins with tackling suicide factors. More concern and higher awareness about suicide issues will be very helpful in suicide prevention.
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