A shock and plight scale for assessment of depression to prevent suicide in public figures

Main Article Content



This paper proposes a scale that can be used by outreach activists for the assessment of depression to avoid suicide of public figures. This scale is developed based on known risk factors contributing to depression. Information on these risk factors is mostly available on celebrities and dignitaries from the sources in public domain, allowing the proposed scale to be used by an outreach activist, unlike all the existing scales including HDRS, PHQ-9, and BDI which require self-reporting by the subject. The risk factors are divided into plight and shock/trauma. The score assigned to the former varies over time, whereas the score attributed to the latter remains constant. Cumulative score of a subject on the scale is estimated on any point in time under study as an algebraic sum of individual scores assigned to individual risk factors. Subjects of study are celebrities, who were studied through their profiles, biographies, interviews, and news items available in public domain. They were scored on the proposed scale considering the life events and situation facing them. Out of 18 subjects, 9 were suicidal and 9 were non-suicidal. The scale appears to provide clear dichotomy between suicidal and non-suicidal subjects. The Student’s t-test suggests that the proposed shock and plight scale can be used to assess depression and identify individuals who are potentially at a risk of suicide.

Article Details

How to Cite
MAHAM MAHNOOR, AHSAN AHMAD URSANI, ZAFI SHERHAN SHAH, ABDUL QADIR ANSARI, & MEMON2. A. (2022). A shock and plight scale for assessment of depression to prevent suicide in public figures. Sindh University Research Journal - SURJ (Science Series), 54(2). https://doi.org/10.26692/surj.v54i2.5808


World Health Organization. Suicide worldwide in 2019. World Health Organization. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/9789240026643
Global, regional, and national burden of 12 mental disorders in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: A systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2019. (2022). The Lancet Psychiatry, 9(2), 137–150. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(21)00395-3
Fu, K.-w., & Yip, P. S. (2007). Long-term impact of celebrity suicide on suicidal ideation: Results from a population-based study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 61(6), 540–546. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2005.045005
Mamun, M. A., Syed, N. K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020). Indian celebrity suicides before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and their associated risk factors: Evidence from media reports. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 131, 177–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.09.002
Lee, S. Y. (2019). Media coverage of celebrity suicide caused by depression and increase in the number of people who seek depression treatment. Psychiatry Research, 271, 598-603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.055
Pritchard, C., Iqbal, W., & Dray, R. (2020). Undetermined and accidental mortality rates as possible sources of underreported suicides: population-based study comparing Islamic countries and traditionally religious Western countries. BJPsych open, 6(4), e56. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2020.38
Ha, J., & Yang, H.-S. (2021). The Werther effect of celebrity suicides: Evidence from South Korea. PLOS ONE, 16(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249896
Kar, S. K., Arafat, S. M. Y., Ransing, R., Menon, V., Padhy, S. K., Sharma, P., & Marthoenis, M. (2020). Repeated celebrity suicide in India during covid-19 crisis: An urgent call for attention. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 53, 102382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102382
Ma, S., Yang, J., Yang, B., Kang, L., Wang, P., Zhang, N., Wang, W., Zong, X., Wang, Y., Bai, H., Guo, Q., Yao, L., Fang, L., & Liu, Z. (2021). The patient health questionnaire-9 vs. the hamilton rating scale for depression in assessing major depressive disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.747139
BECK, A. T. (1961). An inventory for Measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4(6), 561. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710120031004
Rashid, T., & Haider, I. (2008). Life Events and Depression. ANNALS OF PUNJAB MEDICAL COLLEGE (APMC), 2(1). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.29054/apmc/2008.621
Clemente, M., & Padilla-Racero, D. (2019). The effects of the justice system on the mental health of plaintiffs and defendants. https://doi.org/10.20944/preprints201910.0264.v1.
Woo, J.-M., & Postolache, T. Τ. (2008). The impact of work environment on mood disorders and suicide: Evidence and implications. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd.2008.7.2.185.
Goldsmith, R. E., Freyd, J. J., & DePrince, A. P. (2011). Betrayal trauma. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(3), 547–567. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260511421672.
Christodoulou, N. G., & Christodoulou, G. N. (2013). Financial crises: Impact on mental health and suggested responses. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 82(5), 279–284. https://doi.org/10.1159/000351268.
Goodwin, G. M. (2006). Depression and associated physical diseases and symptoms. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 8(2), 259–265. https://doi.org/10.31887/dcns.2006.8.2/mgoodwin.
Gürhan, N., Beşer, N. G., Polat, Ü., & Koç, M. (2019). Suicide risk and depression in individuals with chronic illness. Community Mental Health Journal, 55(5), 840–848. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-019-00388-7.
Deykin, E. Y., Levy, J. C., & Wells, V. (1987). Adolescent depression, alcohol and drug abuse. American Journal of Public Health, 77(2), 178–182. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.77.2.178.
Kaltiala-Heino, R., & Fröjd, S. (2011). Correlation between bullying and clinical depression in adolescent patients. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, 37–44. https://doi.org/10.2147/ahmt.s11554.
Velderman, M. K., van Dorst, A. G., Wiefferink, C. H., Detmar, S. B., Paulussen, T. G. W. M., & The KIDSCREEN group. (2008). Quality of life of Victims Bullies, and bully/victims among school-aged children in the Netherlands. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 1(4), 42–52. https://doi.org/10.1080/1754730x.2008.9715738.
Elliott, D. M., Mok, D. S., & Briere, J. (2004). Adult sexual assault: Prevalence, symptomatology, and sex differences in the general population. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17(3), 203–211. https://doi.org/10.1023/b:jots.0000029263.11104.23.
Thurston, R. C., Chang, Y., Matthews, K. A., von Känel, R., & Koenen, K. (2019). Association of Sexual Harassment and sexual assault with midlife women’s mental and Physical Health. JAMA Internal Medicine, 179(1), 48. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4886.
Negele, A., Kaufhold, J., Kallenbach, L., & Leuzinger-Bohleber, M. (2015). Childhood trauma and its relation to chronic depression in adulthood. Depression Research and Treatment, 2015, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/650804.
Lund, R., Nielsen, K. K., Hansen, D. H., Kriegbaum, M., Molbo, D., Due, P., & Christensen, U. (2008). Exposure to bullying at school and depression in adulthood: A study of Danish men born in 1953. The European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 111–116. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckn101.
Seiler, A., von Känel, R., & Slavich, G. M. (2020). The psychobiology of bereavement and health: A conceptual review from the perspective of social signal transduction theory of depression. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.565239.
Shadrina, M., Bondarenko, E. A., & Slominsky, P. A. (2018). Genetics factors in major depression disease. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00334.
Shen, S.-C., Huang, K.-H., Kung, P.-T., Chiu, L.-T., & Tsai, W.-C. (2017). Incidence, risk, and associated factors of depression in adults with physical and sensory disabilities: A nationwide population-based study. PLOS ONE, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175141.
Guardian News and Media. (2018, July 18). Anthony Bourdain's last interview: Trump, Weinstein and Travel. The Guardian. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/18/anthony-bourdains-last-interview-trump-weinstein-and-travel.