By Adeparua Damilola
One may wonder how possible it is to hear or see people ending their lives themselves at times. In fact, there have been many cases of people who committed suicide on social media but one common thing about these incidents is the fact that those who committed the suicide made it known either directly or indirectly before eventually ending their lives. People, most times, realise too late that their threats and signals 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% of all deaths worldwide are by suicide and 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 a 33 per cent increase in suicide rates between `1999 and 2019. It is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34, the fourth leading cause among people ages 35-44 and the fifth leading cause among people ages 45-54.
World Health Organisation (WHO) posits that every year, 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. Going further, statistics show the ten countries with the highest suicide rates per 100,000 to be; Lesotho 72.4, Guyana 40.3, Eswatini 29.4, South Korea 28.6, Kiribati 28.3, Micronesia 28.2, Lithuania 26.1, Suriname 25.4, Russia 25.1 and South Africa 23.5.
From its findings, World Health Organisation (WHO) asserts that suicide rates fell in the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36 per cent with decreases ranging from 17 percent in the Eastern Mediterranean region to 47 per cent in the European region and 49 per cent in the Western Pacific but in the Americas region, rates increased by 17 per cent in the same time period.
According to a source, causes of suicide are physical, emotional or sexual abuse, lost relationship through breakup, divorce, or death, isolation or lack of support.
The majority of the youths of nowadays are in depression due to the socio-economic situation of the country. It can be disheartening to see youths who have spent many years in school with the hope of being employed immediately after school, spending many years at home after graduation without a job.
These youths see themselves as burdens to their immediate family and society and this is exactly why the majority of the youths indulge in criminal activities while some of them who cannot indulge in such activities are at the risk of suicide due to depression.
Does the fact that some parents do not teach their children how to manage rejection need to be mentioned? Yes, in a country where the future of the youths are meaningless to the government, where the government shows little or no concern about the high rate of joblessness among the youths, where the educational system is on a downturn, there is the need to teach a child how to manage rejection because one cannot possibly get every desired thing in life such as perfect relationship, financial stability and so on.
Unfortunately, the 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 there are youths who commit suicide due to failure at school, failed relationships and the likes.
In addition, research shows that men commit suicide more than women do and this can be blamed on the African’s belief on the superiority of the male gender.
The other gender is not believed to be as equal as the male gender and this places more responsibility on the male gender. In a situation whereby the male is unable to meet up with his responsibility for the family, this becomes a burden on him. There is local parlance, which says that a man must always be brave but then can a male child be brave always in an environment, which does not aid his growth?
Inability to meet up with society’s expectations can lead to dejection, disappointment and depression and this makes World Health Organisations research plausible 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). Wikipedia also posits that while women more often have suicidal thoughts, 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 low and middle-income countries.
Other common methods of suicide are hanging and firearms. There is the need to ban the most dangerous pesticides that can lead to immediate death if swallowed, and if such substances are important, it should be kept in safe places where it cannot be abused and its usage should be well monitored.
Early identification and follow-up of people at risk is also of utmost importance. Research shows the common warning signs of suicide to be being moody or sad, sudden calmness, withdrawing from others, showing dangerous or self-harmful behaviour, threatening suicide or talking about wanting to die and experiencing recent trauma or life crisis such as the death of a loved one, divorce or breakup of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job or serious financial problems.
At times, the mind may flashback to someone who has not been seen or heard from for a long period. In such a case, it is advisable to call such a person at that particular time as such person may be going through difficult times which may be life-threatening because people who commit suicide are said to give or show signs before committing the act. If there is early identification and follow-up of such people, suicide may possibly be averted.
It is quite unfortunate that people are too busy minding their businesses, 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 family members and this is one of the reasons people who are in distress are not identified early.
There should also be adequate support for the adolescents in all-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 the adolescents lack emotional support from their parents, teachers, friends, and relatives because nowadays, quality time that should be spent with them are spent on social media, reading comments and news feed, leaving the children to their fate. As shown by research, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-25years.
If youths are financially stable, the dependency rate will be minimised and this will, in turn, stabilise their minds especially the jobless graduates. Dependency on parents at a time when it is expected of one to be the breadwinner can lead to depression because of the shame attached to it. If the youths are empowered, there is bound to be a decrease in suicide rates.
Overall, suicide should never be an option, as it will cause the 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 social media.
Lastly, the government should empower the citizens so that they can be financially stable, as this will also decrease the rate of suicide in society.
- Damilola can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org