Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
THERE is in #Pakistan a fundamentally flawed understanding of #suicide. This was glaringly highlighted by the Punjab Police’s crude and tone-deaf tweet on Friday warning that anyone who survives a #suicideattempt could be liable to one year’s imprisonment under Section 325 of the PPC. Ironically, the post was accompanied by the hashtags #BuildingForBetter and #Awareness. True awareness would entail recognizing that #suicide, or an attempt at it, is not a crime but a desperate cry for help by someone most probably suffering from a #mentaldisorder, such as #depression. People with #suicidalideation need support and counselling, but many often do not seek it because of the #stigma attached to #mentalillness. The fact that taking one’s own life is deemed a crime in this country only adds to the reluctance. Thus the problems that give rise to the suicidal tendencies in the first place remain hidden, whereas detection and treatment are critical in preventing self-harm.
According to figures compiled by WHO eight years ago, an average of 13,377 suicides occur in #Pakistan each year. Around 7,000 of them are committed by #women and a little over 6,000 by #men. Instances of attempted self-harm are 20 times higher, with #women outnumbering #men by a ratio of at least 3:1. Indeed, many of those who succeed in taking their own lives have a pattern of self-harm that if brought to medical attention and addressed successfully through therapy could have prevented them from taking the final, irrevocable step. Local studies indicate that suicidal #behavior manifests more often among the under-30s, who constitute a huge segment of our population. That is all the more reason authorities in #Pakistan must inculcate a modern and more compassionate understanding of what makes a person carry out an act that is the very antithesis of the human instinct for survival. There are of course significant resource issues. More than 75pc of people with #mentaldisorders do not get help partly because they are simply not enough trained experts in the field. Also, depressive disorders often closely associated with #suicidalideation are inextricably linked with sociocultural factors and the quality of life, which means a holistic approach is needed to addressing this complex issue. Nevertheless, as a first step, #Pakistan must decriminalize attempted #suicide, as has been already done in several Muslim countries. Secondly, it should scale up e-#mentalhealth interventions so people in distress get the support they need.