By Lawal Dahiru Mamman
An attempt to kill oneself in response to a tragic or stressful situation is termed ‘attempted suicide’, while success in such an attempt is referred to as ‘suicide.’ This profoundly affects families, especially when such an attempt is successful, and when one survives, they battle other mental disorders.
For suicide not to be seen only as a storm in a teacup, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, in conjunction with the World Health Organisation in 2003, slated the 10th of September to annually commemorate what it termed ‘World Suicide Day’. Issues surrounding suicide are discussed with the hope of ending the horrendous act on the day.
This year’s event got me reminiscing on an incident in my neighbourhood three years ago where a nine-year-old girl in Primary 4 sent herself to the grave by hanging. What would have prompted her? This question continues to resonate in the minds of those unfortunate to see her hanging lifeless.
Seven hundred thousand people commit suicide yearly, according to the world health organisation (WHO), with 70% occurring in low and middle-income countries. WHO’s country representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, said: “for every suicide, twenty (20) other people are making an attempt and many more have the thought to commit same.”
Ingestion of pesticides, hanging and firearms are said to be the most common method of committing suicide globally. In high-income countries, suicide has been associated with mental disorders like depression and alcohol use disorder. In contrast, in low-income countries, life problems like financial crises, relationship break-ups, chronic pain and illness take credit – these are primarily associated with adults.
On the other hand, children may become suicidal due to poor performance in school, coupled with pressure at home to do better, bullying, losing friends, etc.
Thanks to civilisation and technological advancement, people have become more and more isolated. At the same time, others try to emulate the more often pseudo lives of others they see on TV or social media. Mr A wants his child to be as bright as the child of Mr B; Mrs X wants her husband to provide the luxury Mr Y is providing for his family; Mr M wants his wife to be as dazzling as the wife Mr N, the list goes on. All these think this way while still battling financial crises and others.
While the authority is setting up mental healthcare centres, and organisations are trying to do the same at workplaces, families need to start being the haven they should be for their members. Parents should understand that failure for children is just okay when they have given their best while helping them be the best version of themselves.
Generally speaking, marriages, relationships, education, intelligence, social status, and all that encompasses life should not be measured using the yardstick we see in the media. As the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold.
Nigeria is a place where religion is held in high esteem. Therefore, religious leaders could take it upon themselves during sermons to discourage suicide. The haves should remain humble and thankful for their possessions, while the have-nots should not despair for whatever position they find themselves in; others aspire to get there.
Dale Carnegie, an American writer, stated, “It is not what you have, who you are, where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” Understanding this will go a long way in curtailing suicide.
When all hands come on deck, we would be “Creating Hope Through Action.”
Lawal Dahiru Mamman, a corp member, writes from Abuja and can be reached via email@example.com.