Mental Illness & Suicide

Tim Bergling , better known as by his stage name “Avicii”, was a Swedish musician, DJ, remix artist and record producer. He was one of the most popular musicians of his time. He showcased his music skills online to receive exposure. Avicii started making music at age of 16 and began posting his singles on various online music forums. Soon, he caught the attention of a music label. In 2011, he achieved nationwide fame with his single ‘Levels’. Two years later, he released his debut album ‘True’. His music touched a new level of experimentation, as he mixed electronic music with several genres of popular music and let the album to become a major commercial and critical success. The album made its way among the top 10 hits in more than 15 countries around the world, such as Sweden, US and Australia.

However, Avicii suffered from serious mental health issues and committed suicide on April 20, 2018. Avicii was known to be a heavy alcoholic and the habit had impacted his health. In 2012, he was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and had his gall bladder and appendix removed. Despite the health concerns, he kept touring continuously and risked his mental and physical well-being. By 2017, he started talking about depression and suicidal thoughts openly.

Depression is highly prevalent in artists, and Avicii became one of its latest victims. The pressure and the lack of privacy that fame brought perhaps, contributed to his failing mental health. On April 20, 2018, his lifeless body was found in his hotel room near Muscat, Oman. A few days later, his family revealed that he had cut himself with a broken wine bottle and bled to death. With Avicii’s suicide, another bright star of the music industry dimmed forever. He was 28 years old at the time of his death, but his music shall always remain ageless and immortal.

Suicide means that someone ends their life on purpose. However, people who die by suicide or attempt suicide may not really want to end their life. Suicide may seem like the only way to deal with difficult feelings or situations. People who die by suicide or attempt suicide usually feel overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless, desperate and alone. In some rare cases, people who experience psychosis (losing touch with reality) may hear voices that tell them to end their life. 

Suicide often stems from a deep feeling of hopelessness. The inability to see solutions to problems or to cope with challenging life circumstances may lead people to see suicide as the only option to what is really a temporary situation. Depression is a key risk factor for suicide, others include psychiatric disorders, substance use, chronic pain, a family history of suicide, and a prior suicide attempt. Many different situations and experiences can lead someone to consider suicide. Known risk factors for suicide include a serious physical or mental illness, problems with alcohol or drugs, a major loss such as death of a loved one, unemployment or divorce, major life changes or transitions like those experienced by teenagers and seniors and family violence.

The most common warning symptoms and signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors include talking about suicide for example making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself, or “I wish I were dead”, withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone, displaying extreme mood swings and changing normal routine including eating or sleeping patterns. Furthermore, other symptoms are feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing from once pleasurable activities and increased risky behaviors.

Though not all suicides can be prevented, some strategies can help reduce the risk. All of these factors are linked to well-being. These strategies include seeking treatment, care and support for mental health concerns and get professional help. Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility or take them to a doctor’s appointment. On top of that, follow up on treatment. If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved ones takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. 

Moreover, encourage positive lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress and promotes emotional well-being. Also removes potential means of suicide such as pills, knifes, razors or firearms. If the person is likely to take an overdose keep medications locked away or give them out only as the person needs. When a person receives treatment for a mental illness, it can still take time for thoughts of suicide to become manageable and stop. 

Good treatment is very important but it may not immediatey eliminate the risk of suicide. It’s important to stay connected with a care team, monitor for thoughts of suicide and seek extra help if it’s needed. In conclusion, increase the awareness of suicide, see prevention opportunities and become more alert to clues and communications that someone maybe thinking of suicide.