Suicide – A Frightening Reality
My telephone rang late one night and on the other end was a female who told me she would commit suicide and identified the means by which she would do it. She was dead serious. The individual gave a long list of reasons living was a waste of time and why committing suicide was the best option for her. I thought the fact that she took the time to call me meant there was a window of hope still left to rescue her from falling prematurely into the welcoming arms of death. God gave me the wisdom to guide her away from her intention and today she is still alive and is a very productive member of society.
The Effect of Suicide
You may not know that every year about 800,000 people commit suicide. “Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide.” These were the chilling words from the lips of the World Health Organization (WHO)Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2019. What is also very worrisome is the knowledge that for every suicide act, 25 other people attempt the undertaking.
Can you imagine what this major mental health predicament can have on family, friends, communities, and governments. The research continues to show that the 15-29 age group and elderly persons 70 years and older are the highest casualties in the suicide quandary. The cost to economies is estimated in the billions of dollars, but also the number of people losing their lives via suicide is higher than the combined number of persons who lose their lives yearly in war and homicide.
“For each suicide, approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.”
I know that health care professionals at every level are very busy with individuals who have given up on life. At Family Heartbeat International Network Inc., my staff and I have had first-hand encounters with people of all ages and professions who present very strong desires to commit suicide. There are several major reasons individuals may deliberately set out to kill themselves, some of which I will examine in subsequent articles. Every person is vulnerable to suicide. Situations can arise from a variety of circumstances that can lead to suicide ideation.
Why Youth Commit Suicide
It is not always easy to pin down any one reason why young people may be inclined to commit suicide. There are many different transitions going on in the bodies, minds, social connections and emotions of the youth.
Research continues to show that major disappointment, such as failure, rejection, and loss of a boyfriend or girlfriend could trigger suicide yearnings. Stress-related matters such as physical, sexual and verbal abuse; bullying and depression; feelings of helplessness and hopelessness; alcohol and drug abuse have become a major contributor to suicidal behaviour. The issues of young people, therefore, should not be ignored, and every parent and concerned citizen should be ready to help our youth to be as positively focused as possible.
Why the Elderly Commit Suicide
There is a tendency to ignore the reality that elderly people are prone to suicidal tendencies. Some reasons advanced by researchers for such a high suicide rate are issues like depression, loss of a spouse, chronic illness, social disconnections, and loneliness. Over the years, I have come face to face with elderly individuals who, despite their challenging circumstances, had a passion to live and make others happy. I have also encountered others who have told me they just don’t want to live anymore. Some of those in the latter category were carrying deep social, mental, emotional and physical scars that made them feel hopeless. Being sensitive and responsive to the needs of our elderly could assist in preventing suicide from occurring so frequently
Paying attention to the question of suicide must not be shunned. I shall, therefore, examine the subject in more detail and offer some proactive solutions.
Marriage and Family Life Consultant