Text: | Print|

Long-sought NGO targeting suicide to set up(2)

2014-08-25 16:21 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

"Usually, people with mental disorders don't just commit suicide suddenly. It takes time for them to reach the point of a suicide attempt," says Shan.

"Even though they have developed an attempt, part of them often hesitate and hope to be saved. Professional intervention can help prevent them. And the earlier professional intervention gets involved, the more likely the suicide attempts will be stopped," he adds.

One big problem: Only 7 percent of people with mental disorders have reached a psychologist before committing suicide. And many who survive suicide attempts simply disappear after leaving the hospital. They often leave fake contact numbers or simply refuse follow-up treatment and counseling, as they feel ashamed about what they have done.

That sense of shame rooted in many Chinese people's minds prevents many of them from seeking help.

"It seems that the people who tried suicide just secretly led their lives, and secretly ended them," says Shan.

None of Shirley Yang's friends and family members was aware of her suicidal tendencies before she threw herself out of a 25th-floor window. The 36-year-old worked for a top financial organization in Lujiazui in Pudong. Even though suffering depression for years, she always appeared perfect in public, while very occasionally complaining about her fatigue to her husband at night.

Having a miscarriage months ago due to overwork was suspected to be a major reason for her suicide. But she left no traces, talking humorously at lunch with friends just days before ending her own life.

"I really need to talk to somebody" is a frequent request from callers through the "Hope-24-Hours" hotline, according to Luo Weiping, who is a volunteer counselor there.

"I can feel how they have suffered from keeping their problems a secret," says Luo.

The volunteer counselors always try their best to help the callers, but if the callers chose to hang up and never call back again, there is nothing they can do. Ethical rules prevent them from calling back.

"It is so painful to hear the busy tone while knowing that somebody is terribly suffering out there," says Luo.

Patients' hesitation in searching for help makes it especially difficult for counselors to get involved in the first place, while the absence of mental intervention at comprehensive hospitals often leaves any possible clues of high-risk groups slipping away.

"Statistics show that without proper psychological treatment, at least 35 percent of the survivors will try to commit suicide again," says Shan.

Real-time crisis intervention is crucially important to prevent their second suicide attempts. However, few emergency departments of comprehensive hospitals in Shanghai can provide such intervention and treatment.

Most of the comprehensive hospitals in Shanghai don't have psychiatry departments. And no more than 1 percent of the doctors are equipped with clinical psychology evaluation or treatment training, which makes it almost impossible for immediate crisis intervention.

"These people get physically healed in the hospital, but not mentally. If we doctors don't make follow-ups, keep records and give them proper psychological counseling and medication, they might hurt themselves again and again. And there'll be always one day when their attempts succeed," say Hui, with the Psychological Crisis Intervention Center at Gongli Hospital.

Comments (0)
Most popular in 24h
  Archived Content
Media partners:

Copyright ©1999-2018 Chinanews.com. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.