According to report, 800 000 people die due to suicide yearly, one person dies every 40 seconds. Although it’s a global issue but there are more suicide cases in developing countries than in industrialised countries. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally, accounting for about 1.5% of all deaths worldwide.
This has become an undesirable ritual in low and middle-income countries. Suicide is becoming a multicultural issue – Europe records one of the highest rates of suicide cases with Asia and Latin America lately. There are basic reasons for suicide or suicidal attempts which transcends across all regions. Below are basic causes of suicidal thoughts among individuals:
- Major psychiatric illness or mood disorders such as depression, schizophrenia etc
- Family history of suicide
- Intolerable emotional or physical pain
- Being hopeless
- Loss of a loved one, job, relationship
- substance abuse, basically alcohol abuse
There is an increasing number of unemployed people around the world. In developing countries, young people between the ages of 18 to 30 are struggling to get hired. Unemployment which can pave a way to poverty can strike depression and suicidal thoughts. In countries like India and Nigeria, low social status and financial and gender inequality discourage job seekers from being employed as they remain unhappy and despondent. Suicide rates are lower in countries with structures on social and gender equality – most developing countries lack social structures.
In most developing countries, governments owe their workers and pensioners for years. Cases of suicides based on non-payment of salaries are evident. In Imo state, Nigeria, a retired principal killed himself due to hunger and poverty. The Imo state government halted the payments of pensions and salaries for years which have forced families into poverty and hardships. These pension funds are always available diverted to political or personal interests.
Violence against women and rape increases the chances of women to commit suicide. Abusive relationships and acts of rape can cause heavy depression and low self-esteem for the victims. They may see suicide as an escape route to their unbearable conditions. Mostly in Asia, a number of abused or rape victims commit suicide. In other sense, the victims of abused relationships may perceive suicide as a revenge act to force the society to avenge for her suffering and death thereby shifting her burden of aggravation to their tormentors. Other causes for women are early marriages and young motherhood.
In most African countries, depression has been viewed as ‘a rich people thing’. Africans believe that people who have time to be depressed have everything working for him or her. In a state of poor leadership systems, everyone focuses on getting food on the table, hustling to survive and acting strong. Some socio-cultural environments view depression as a weak thing. If you are depressed – then you are weak, especially from the male folk.
If you feel suicidal or you know someone who does, please seek medical attention or talk to loved ones. There are helplines available to call or search Google, Bing and other search engines for an organisation or helpline near you. National and State governments should create attention to suicides, build health centres that focus on psychotherapy. Private sectors must take up the challenge as one of their community service responsibility.