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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 165-170

Debate: Suicide is a Societal, not a Mental Health or Even a Public Health Problem

1 Consultant Psychiatrist, Southland Hospital, Invercargill, Invercargill, New Zealand
2 Department of Psychiatry, Sitaram Bharatia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Digvijay S Goel
Consultant Psychiatrist, Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Services, Southland Hospital, Invercargill
New Zealand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_62_21

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In this debate the focus is on suicide which is a complex maze, wherein multiple parameters intersect. The first part of the paper questions many basic premises which have been taken as given in the discourse of suicide and currently form the substrate of conversations around suicide. The basic premise is that this societal problem has been expropriated by health professionals. They have assumed ownership without having the wherewithal to address the many contributory factors to suicide – social, economic, cultural, and moral. Suicide prevention plans are ritually rolled out despite a consistent record of repeated failures. There is a need to move against the tide and reimagine the subject in light of macrolevel evidence. The second part posits that for an issue as complex as suicide, it is important to think inclusively rather than looking for simplistic answers in either/or way, and the larger societal, economic and even political issues will need to be factored in.

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