Mornings are bright, reassuring and often filled with hope, it is another chance to start over again in a better way in the hurdles of life. In the same vein, nights also has her glamorous beauty, closure and rest though dark but unique. Seas dry, just like trees, animals, and birds die obeying the cycle of life. Humans are no exception even though, a bit more dramatic yet the inevitable cannot but happen eventually. Death is agreeably a spectacular design in all living creations which put an end to existence, but no one in their right mind wishes to die irrespective of how long they have lived. This becomes a puzzle, raise questions and leave others in awe when the cause of death was perpetrated by self. It is termed SUICIDE.
Researches by WHO shows that Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year that is, one person every 40 seconds. Which further reveal that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.¹ The act of committing suicide used to be very rare in Africa communities and even termed “western madness” in some part of Africa showing their firm belief in the common phrase “when there is life, there is hope”. Nigeria now ranks the 30th most suicide-prone country out of 183 nations in the world with 15.1% suicides per 100,000 people annually.²
One cannot but wonder what prompted the underrated abuse of will and freedom motivating people regardless of age group resorting to the inhumane plague of the mind. The inquisition has over time shows depression, mental disorders, financial difficulty, marital problems, academic challenges, rejection, and several others things deem to be mundane as causative reasons for such drastic decision and an easy way out of all these worries. An average Nigerian has one worry or the other especially, as surviving in the country has continued to prove tougher leading to a rampant rate of suicide cases lately.
Though other causes like terminal diseases, absence of working national security system, lack of unemployment benefits, lack of good infrastructure and unfavorable economy can lead people to commit suicide, it cannot be overemphasized that 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from depression or mental illness with bipolar and schizophrenic disorder inclusive. Most of the major causes of death which include sickness, poverty, and malnutrition happen to also be, some of the causes of depression. Indeed, tackling depression in our society could be the first giant step to eradicate suicide.
Even though, it is a crime to attempt suicide, prosecution of the act appears to be rare probably due to lack of correctional facility to help them or measures to reduce the reoccurrence of such act. Unlike diseases and sicknesses that can be prevented and treated when prevention fails, nothing brings succor to a dejected soul except appropriate counseling. Family and friends often fail to understand the symptoms of suicide not until after the harm has been done. The burden suicide does extend beyond the deceased as it psychologically affects people left behind, filling them with guilt and contempt wondering if there is something they could have done right leaving their heart bruised. It is important that we begin to take every abnormal behavior, violent remarks and careless statements of frustration serious and observe closely.
There is a need for government, NGOs, churches, and other institutions to create awareness to sensitize the populace closing the gap in the treatment of depression and establish counseling centers where people could visit to seek succor as prevention is the only viable approach to curb the habit of committing suicide. As much as we hate to be caught up in poverty, sickness, disappointment, rejection, et al… we should never forget they are part of life which has been from the time immemorial and will be till the end of time. It is our duty to overcome the challenges!
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- World Health Organisation Report