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What to Do If News Surrounding Suicide Is Triggering for You – The Quint

Why Some People Are More Likely to Get Triggered

Speaking to FIT, Havovi Hyderabadwalla, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and Co-founder of ‘Mind Mandala’, said, “People who are suffering from mental health issues are already emotionally exposed and vulnerable. Some of them may be seeking help, and some others may not.”

Dr Kamna Chhibber also explained, “For those with preexisting conditions, it can certainly be more of a trigger as they can be reminded of their own emotional states and thoughts which may have been difficult to manage in the past.”

Importantly, mental health issues are not the only causes of suicide and not all mentally distressed individuals are suicidal. Ritika Aggarwal, Consultant Psychologist, Jaslok Hospital tells FIT, “There are many risk factors which can make a person more vulnerable to such thoughts, and consequently, this individual may feel more triggered by such content. Pre-existing mental as well as physical disorders, a prior history of a suicide attempt, exposure to suicidal behavior early in life and social and cultural circumstances, for instance, are some factors that could make someone more prone to get more severely impacted by news about suicide.” Sometimes, there may be no known tangible or apparent reason at all.

Hyderabadwalla explains how exactly celebrity deaths, in particular, can trigger such responses in a set of people. “People look up to celebrities. In fact, in the very first case I treated in my career, the person had sought help because they were jilted by Robin William’s death and didn’t know how to cope. This isn’t an uncommon feeling. You really look up to celebrities and put them on a pedestal. When a certain mentor figure or an idol, who has set life-goals for you and who has a strong impression on you, takes their own life, you can just end up thinking ‘maybe it is not worth it’.”

Moreover, to many vulnerable groups, this may look as a means to get the importance that they feel they do not receive alive. “Because the media sensationalises the news, those who are already struggling could read about it and think, ‘maybe taking my life will make others give me the care and attention that this person is getting post their death’,” Mehta explains.


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