Since the death of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, we finally started talking about suicide and not just in hushed whispers. Often we associate suicide as a consequence of one or the other pre-existing mental health disorder, and rightly so. But what we often forget to address is suicide as an impulse decision. Not every person has a long impending history of depression or chronic pain. While calling it a ‘phase’ is also incorrect, it can be a thought, strong enough to take action upon it.
Like most mental health problems, the thought process can not be overtly seen. So even an a fleeting moment is unrecognisable to an outsider. In cases like these, it comes as sudden and hits the hardest due to the sheer unpredictability of it nature. Even when you search risk factors of suicide, a pre-existing mental and often, physical condition is mentioned. The common thought on mentioning impulsive suicided is that the person would be impulsive in nature. However, studies have disproved this theory. Four impulsivity traits were identified using the UPPS Impulse Behaviour Scale- urgency (rash response to negative emotions), poor premeditation (lack of foresight of consequences of actions), poor perseverance (giving up easily) and sensation seeking (preferences of excitement).
However, other studies found little relation between impulsivity and suicide attempts due to reasons of pain and fearful thoughts of death. Studies have also shown that impulsivity in itself serves as a symptom of mental health disorders. Those who contemplate it, more often than less exhibit signs of distress including social withdrawal, and parting with personal belongings and making a will. Time from ideation may vary from five minutes (what we call impulsive suicidal behaviour) to even months. Studies can only have participants who either have contemplated or attempted suicide, which are two groups afar from the required population. Impulsivity in suicide attempts is a concept that continues to remain blurred.
Till a few years back, suicide was an illegal act in the country and those who survived an attempt would be liable to punishment. Any person who attempted or assisted suicide would be be imprisoned up to a year or pay a fine or both, according to Section 309. However, our country had finally decriminalised the act of suicide through the Mental Healthcare Act (2017) which restricts the application of Section 309.
Another concept to be spoken is assisted suicide, or commonly called euthanasia. The Indian Law bans all forms of active (use of lethal substances to stop life), non voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Only patients with chronic terminal illness and in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) can opt for passive (stopping food and treatment needed to ensure continuation of life) voluntary euthanasia.
There is but one true philosophical problem and that is suicide.
Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.
If you want to show me that you really love me, don’t say that you would die for me, instead stay alive for me.” – Unknown