Suicide

No matter how odd we think it is, there are persons who are preoccupied with thoughts of killing themselves. For reasons which oftentimes appear frivolous, they try to justify why their desire to end their lives seems to be the best way out of their prevailing circumstances. Those of us who are “apparently normal” might even blame them or accuse them of being “Stupid” for having thoughts of killing themselves. We are always quick to conclude that the individual who attempts or commits suicide is at fault. In fact, the Nigerian law has stipulated punishment for persons who attempt to kill themselves. It is fundamentally believed that it is the state only that has the legal right to take lives.

  • In spite of the rejection of suicide worldwide, not less than 1 million people successfully kill themselves every year.
  • Twenty times this number would have attempted to kill themselves.

Suicide is not a Western or African phenomenon. It occurs everywhere.

We are getting to hear about young people killing themselves across the country so it definitely cuts across all age groups.

For everyone we hear about, there probably will be about five that will go unreported!  Mental health researchers from Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria have reported children as young as 8 years of age attempting to commit suicide after expressing the death wish. So, the very young aren’t left out!

Why do we have people who wish themselves dead?

From my own experience as a psychiatrist and from what other researchers have documented, there seem to be two categories of persons who have the death wish.

  • The first category is those that are suffering from mental illness.
  • The second category is those who don’t have a mental illness but have socio-cultural factors that incite and reinforce their death wish.

Across the two categories of people who wish themselves dead, hopelessness appears to be a very strong factor that is common to all. Frustration on its own will not motivate someone to desire death without feelings of hopelessness. Having the “Hope” about things changing for the better is very important towards staying alive. Even persons who are terminally ill still have hope that their situation could change. This keeps them hanging on to life.

To be Continued………………….

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Ola Ibigbami

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