I can not come and go and kill my self has become a common phrase in Nigeria but sadly the youths are actually killing themselves.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that a million suicide deaths occur every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the third cause of death among adolescents and young persons aged 10 to 24 years. The first two are accidents and homicide. Theoretically, there is one suicide death, every 40 seconds. It is also estimated that the number of attempted suicide annually is about 20 times the number of completed suicides and roughly about 20 million cases worldwide.
The exact estimate of suicide in youths in Nigeria is not fully known but reports in the media would suggest an increasing trend. The reasons are numerous. They include poor academic performance, pressure from parents and, occasionally, siblings to excel, comparing them with their over achieving peers and sometimes making them feel inferior or worthless as well as the overwhelming pressure from social media.
The social networking sites are full and replete with false and make believe lifestyles . The posing, the denge and the shakara no get part 2. Some youths get carried away by these make believe posts and get depressed because they don’t have things to flaunt .
The consequent effect is depression. Depression and substance abuse are known contributing factors for suicide.
But then, every suicide reflects a failure of society. Suicide doesn’t just happen. The signs are always there but someone just missed it or refused to intervene or just didn’t care. Suicide is often not a spur of the moment event , there are usually tell-tale signs that can be averted if picked up and help provided promptly. When a young person begins to lose interest in everyday activities, becomes overtly euphoric or withdrawn, expresses feeling suggestive of loss of self esteem or begins to increasingly get into high risk events then the red flag is up. Constant feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness in a youth should not be taken for granted.
In curbing the increasing rate of suicide amongst youths the whole strata of society has a role. Parents, relatives and school authorities should exhibit a high index of suspicion and treat any suggestive behaviour with the seriousness it deserves. It’s time too to break the silence …the common see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil attitude with regards to suicidal tendencies has to change. Several youths have, prior to committing suicide, made suggestive posts on their social network sites but it had either been taken for granted or a wall of silence built without providing the necessary care and support.
In criminalising a failed suicide bid, society only shows a lack of understanding of the psychological events involved. There is also a need to discourage the stigma associated with mental health illness. The youth with suicidal tendencies is not mad and should be treated as such. He or she needs professional help and not the label of ‘mental or ‘kolo’
Lastly , all hands must be on deck because our youths can not just come and go and be killing themselves any how.