One may wonder how possible it is to hear or see people ending their lives themselves at times. There have been many reports of suicide on the social media. One common thing about these incidents is the fact that those who committed suicide made it known either directly or indirectly before eventually ending their lives. People often realise too late that such signals and threats were real.
Suicide is from the Latin word suicidium, which means the act of taking one’s life. Wikipedia defines suicide as the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. According to a source, approximately 1.5 per cent of all deaths worldwide are by suicide. In a given year, this is roughly 12 per 100,000 people.
In addition, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines suicide as death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. From the same source, there was 33 per cent increase in suicide rates between `1999 and 2019. It is the second leading cause of death for people aged between 10 and 34 years; the fourth leading cause of death among people aged between 35 and 44 years; and the fifth leading cause of death among people aged 45 and 54 years.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) posits that every year, about 703,000 people take their own lives and many people attempt suicide. It was also discovered that over 77 per cent of global suicides occurred in low and middle income countries in 2019. Available statistics indicate that 10 countries have the highest suicide rates per 100,000. They are Lesotho at 72.4 per cent; Guyana at 40.3 per cent; Eswatini at 29.4 per cent; South Korea at 28.6 per cent; Kiribati at 28.3 per cent; Micronesia at 28.2 per cent; Lithuania at 26.1 per cent; Suriname at 25.4 per cent; Russia at 25.1 percent and South Africa at 23.5 per cent.
From its findings, WHO asserts that the global suicide rate fell in the period between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36 per cent and decreases ranging from 17 per cent in the Eastern Mediterranean region to 47 per cent in the European region and 49 per cent in the Western Pacific. In the Americas, the suicide rate increased by 17 per cent in the same period.
According to a source, the causes of suicide are physical, emotional or sexual abuse, lost relationship through breakup, divorce, isolation or lack of support.
Nowadays many Nigerian youths suffer depression due to the socio economic situation in the country. It can be disheartening to see youths, who have spent many years in school in the hope of getting employed immediately after graduation, idling away without jobs. These youths see themselves as a burden to their immediate families and the society. The majority of them may be tempted to indulge in criminal activities, while the rest who cannot participate in such activities are at the risk of committing suicide due to depression.
Does the fact that some parents do not teach their children how to manage rejection needs to be mentioned? In a society where government appears to be less concerned about future of the youths and hardly cares about the rising unemployment rate among the youths, where the educational system is on a decline, there is a need to teach a child how to manage rejection because he or she cannot possibly fulfill every desire in life, especially in terms of a perfect relationship, financial stability and suchlike.
Unfortunately, majority of the youths who commit suicide were not made to realise this until they eventually had to face such situations later in life and end up committing suicide when things do not go the exact way they wished for. This explains why some youths commit suicide due to failure at school, failed relationships, etc.
Research shows that men commit suicide more than women do. This can be blamed on the stereotype of the male as the stronger and superior gender. This places more responsibility on the male. In a situation whereby a man is unable to fulfill his obligation to the family and live up to the expectation of the society, life becomes a burden too heavy to bear. There is an adage which says that a man must always be strong and courageous at all times. Can a male child always be strong and courageous in an environment that does not aid his growth?
Failure to live up to the society’s expectation can lead to dejection, disappointment and depression and this makes WHO’s report that more than twice as many males die due to suicide than females(12.6 per 100,000 males compared to 5.4 per 100,000 females) plausible.
According to Wikipedia, while women often nurse thoughts of suicide, men die by suicide more frequently. From research, people who commit suicide do so by swallowing harmful substances, such as pesticides or insecticides more than those who actually hang themselves or kill themselves with sharp objects. According to a source, 20 per cent of global suicides are due to pesticide poisoning, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas in both the developed and developing countries.
Other common methods of suicide are by hanging and firearms. There is the need to ban dangerous pesticides that can lead to immediate death if swallowed. Such substances should be kept in safe places where they cannot be abused. Their usage should be well monitored.
Early identification of and follow up on people at risk of suicide is very important. Research shows that the common warning signs of suicide include sullenness, unusual calmness, withdrawal, behaviour that is self-destructive, self-confessed desire to die, trauma triggered by either loss of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of job or serious financial setback.
Sometimes, a person’s thoughts may suddenly focus on a relation or friend who has not been seen or heard of for a long time. It is advisable to call such a person at that particular time as he or she could be having challenges that may be life threatening. This is necessary because people who commit suicide are said to give or show signs before committing the act. If there is early identification and follow up on such people, suicide may possibly be averted.
It is quite unfortunate that people are too busy minding their business, parents no longer pay adequate attention to their children, friends no longer care for each other and people show less concern about the wellbeing of their families. That explains why those who are in distress are not identified at an early stage.
There should also be adequate support for adolescents in all the necessary aspects of their lives because they have a lot of things going on in their minds and they also go through a lot of things. Money is not everything. Majority of adolescents lack emotional support from their parents, teachers, friends and relatives because nowadays, quality time that should be spent with them is spent on the social media reading comments and newsfeed, thereby leaving the children to their fate.
If youths are financially stable, the dependency rate will be minimised and this will in turn stabilise their minds. Dependence on parents at a time when it is expected of one to be the breadwinner can lead to depression because of the resulting low self-esteem. If the youths are empowered, there is bound to be a decrease in suicide rates.
Furthermore, suicide should never be an option, as it will cause your loved ones eternal pain and agony. People are also advised to show love to their loved ones when they are still alive and stop diverting the attention needed by their children, family and friends to mundane pursuits. In order to reduce the suicide rate, government should empower the citizens so that they can be financially stable.