Suicide - Call 044 2464 0050 - Sneha Hotline

If you feel like committing suicide or harming yourself, it is important to contact someone to talk about it now. If you are in Chennai call Sneha Hotline NOW –  04424640050. For suicide hotlines in other cities in India click here.  Or contact your local hospital casualty department.

The most common cause of suicide is an underlying mental disorder which includes depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug abuse.

Please note: The information here should not be used as an alternative to professional care.

If a friend or family member talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe that he or she might commit suicide, don’t try to handle the situation yourself. Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed.

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what’s going on.

Do’s & Don’ts

If you have a friend who is showing some of the warning signs and you’re worried, here a few suggested dos and don’ts (the term “she” is only used for convenience):


  • Talk to her – ask her how she is feeling and what is bothering her.
  • Ask about suicide, speak openly – mentioning suicide will not give her the idea.
  • Offer your unconditional friendship and support. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything she says or does but let your friend know you still care no matter what has happened to her or whatever she does.
  • Listen to her. Listening isn’t always easy – to really listen you need to listen with your ears, your eyes and your heart. It doesn’t mean you have to find all the answers. What a person often needs more than anything is to feel understood. Try and listen and understand.
  • Be non-judgemental
  • Look after yourself. You need to be healthy yourself if you are to offer support to a friend.
  • Talk about the things that are good in her life, her strengths and the people who care and are supportive.
  • For your friend’s safety it is important to tell a responsible adult that you trust.
  • Your friend might need professional help. There is help around. Go to the Resources in South Australia at the end of this health topic.


  • Don’t tell your friend not to worry. Whatever is upsetting him may not be something that would upset you but it is very important to him. If you tell him it’s not really important it will seem that you don’t understand and you won’t be very helpful.
  • Try not to seem shocked by anything your friend says. This could make it seem that you don’t understand.
  • Don’t interrupt with stories of your own.
  • Don’t panic especially if your friend talks about feeling suicidal – it may be a relief to be able to speak openly and have someone understand how he feels.
  • Don’t dare him to try it, make fun of it or use guilt to prevent suicide.
  • Don’t leave your friend alone with anything that could be used to harm himself.
  • Don’t try to handle this alone – for your friend’s safety it is important to tell a responsible adult that you trust.

Be very watchful when a person begins to lift out of depression. If necessary, take turns keeping watch. Even if the person goes to the bathroom, someone should be either ready at hand to force open the door, or have the person not lock himself in at all. After all, it is not difficult to keep a knife or pills hidden in the bathroom and use them at that time. Keep all objects such as blades and sharp knives away because they could be used to slash wrists. Also, keep insecticides, kerosene and matches in places that are difficult to find. Be specially careful with medicines of all kinds, including those used for diabetes and blood pressure.

Who can commit suicide:

Suicidal thoughts have numerous causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. These situations could include financial problems, the death of a loved one, a relationship breakup or a debilitating illness. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in th

Depression: Suicide can be committed when a person getting is having or getting better from a severe depression. This is without question the most common reason for people to commit suicide. Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as a sense of hopelessness with the belief that the only way to escape from it is suicide. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense.

Because depression is treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts almost always yields an honest response. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.

Cry for help: Problems of living, dowry, marital disharmony etc., can lead to suicidal attempt as a CRY FOR HELP. These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who’s hurt them—but are sometimes tragically misinformed. The prototypical example of this is a young teenage girl suffering genuine angst because of a relationship, either with a friend, boyfriend, or parent who swallows 20 tablets to Crocin—not realizing that in high enough doses Paracetamol causes irreversible liver damage.

Impulsive act: Alcohol or drug abuse etc. make a person more prone to attempt suicide and any attempt can cause accidental death. Those abusing drugs and alcohol become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel emphatically ashamed. The remorse is usually genuine, and whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable. They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime.


Warning Signs

Whether you’re considering suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life.

Suicide warning signs aren’t always obvious, though, and they vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret. Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

  • Talking about suicide, including making such statements as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I was dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Sudden and significant mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Making a will, or getting his or her affairs in order,
  • Suddenly visiting friends or family members (one last time) for no apparent reason
  • Buying instruments of suicide like a rope or medications,
  • Writing a suicide note.
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Developing personality changes, such as becoming very outgoing after being shy

Suicide is a desperate cry for help and if help is forthcoming, it could be averted.

At times a spiritual attitude consistent with the person’s belief is very useful specially the concept of life after life. All the members of the family have to stand up united in this hour of need and blaming others or infighting further worsens the situation.

Most attempted suicides are not actual attempts, but some are. Warning signs of suicide should never be taken lightly. They are cries for help.

If you should suspect that someone you know is thinking of suicide, get help immediately by contacting a psychiatrist. The person may need to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. Even while admitted to a hospital, family members must always be vigilant for suicide attempts.

If you are with a friend who is saying he or she is going to commit suicide now, stay with them. You could phone a suicide hotline or emergency number, call for help from family or friends, or try and get your friend to the casualty department of your local hospital. 


 Who can commit suicide:

Desire to die: The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.

Psychosis: Psychosis is another disorder in which suicides can take place as a result of the person’s breaking off from reality and responding to his own abnormal thoughts. Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression — and arguably even more tragic. Schizophrenia often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves and can give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, Some of the signs of schizophrenia are: talking, laughing or crying to oneself, expressing ideas about others wanting to harm the person, hearing voices or seeing things when no one is there, severely disturbed sleep, withdrawing from day to day reality and functioning.

There may also be a genetic link to suicide. People who complete suicide or who have suicidal thoughts or behavior are more likely to have a family history of suicide. While more research is needed to fully understand a possible genetic component, it’s thought that there may be a genetic link to impulsive behavior that could lead to suicide.