Suicide is a global phenomenon. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sri Lanka was 4th among 172 countries in suicides in 2014. Furthermore, the report stated an average of over 6,000 moralities and approximately 100,000 individuals attempt suicide annually. Although the government and respective bodies take several measures, seems like the number of suicides attempts are increasing.
UN report for Suicide Rate identifies Mental Health Disorders as the driving force for suicides.
“Mental health disorders, especially depression and substance abuse, are associated with 90% of all suicides. People with these disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and increased mortality… Consequently, there is a need for preventing and curing mental disorders as part of the efforts to strengthen the capacity of health-care systems.”
Mental health and moral issues are neglected topics. People hesitate to open up and discuss their grievances.
Why did they kill themselves?
Depression and Mental illness are triggers for suicide. Pain, loneliness, rejection, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness and abuse leads to depression. To permanently end their pain, they opt for Death – the ultimatum for all problems. Some don’t have anyone to share their pain or they are afraid of shame and judgement.
Also the moral integrity of the society is declining. Rapes, rumors, and defamation have led people to switch off the limelight on them by switching their life-light off. The competitive economy and lifestyles making life a battle ground of survival is also a cause for ultimate depression.
Stigma of suicide and the cultural taboo
“Suicide attempts are indicative of severe emotional distress, unhappiness and / or mental illness. Like the waves caused when a stone is thrown to a pond, suicide hurts not only the family members, but also the other relatives, friends, neighborhood, community and the society. So, we all share responsibility for their prevention…As suicidal thoughts may be contagious, they may also be spread via the internet” (Community Suicide Prevention – 2010).
The Blue Whale game, a twisted suicide challenge guided vulnerable teens into killing themselves in the recent past. The tragic game caused teen deaths around the globe. It is vital that children and parents have open communication and understand each other. Family is the pioneering place for values of love, relationship, communication and morals.
We live our lives mostly online. We have impaired our offline communications, the human-human interactions. People are living in their worlds of isolation and abandonment. It’s high time we understand our priorities – Family and Friends over Work and other things that overpower us. Each of us should be there for that family member or friend who is a victim of depression. A smile, an ear, a look of compassion will work miracles in their lives.
Preventing Suicides in Sri Lanka
Sumithrayo – a government approved charity. Providing 365 days Confidential Emotional Support for those who with suicidal tendencies for free of charge.
Government should implement more suicide prevention activities. It can introduce and implement moral behavior and personality strengthening activities. In addition, these can be infused to the local education system.
Media is a main influential instrument to prevent suicide. It can create public awareness by educating about the mental health and tragic truth of suicide. Media can propagate campaigns, articles and activities.
- Medical Sector
The medical sector of Sri Lanka can initiate improving medical treatments, medical camps and awareness programs. A need of time is awareness on mental illnesses and encouraging people to speak out boldly. A common treatment for mental disorders is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which challenges the negative instincts of the affected.
The real strength lies in facing the game even when you lose it. There is always a new beginning in every situation, every failure. Do not lose Hope. You are not alone!
“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”
~ Jack Penn