Some of us had lost a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a family member, or a loved one because of suicide.
People may have the same question running in their minds whenever someone they know or have heard of, commits suicide: Why? Why did they take their own lives?
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life. A simple definition but it’s one of the things a person really cannot understand and control. Even if we find a note citing the reasons from someone who committed suicide, more questions usually remain. Yes, they felt terribly hopeless but why did they feel that? What made them felt enough despair that they just want to die? A lot of questions that are impossible to be answered as the one who has all the answers is not around anymore.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), over 4.5 million cases of depression were reported in the Philippines in the year 2004. Suicide cases in the Philippines recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported over 2,000 cases from 2000 to 2012. Majority of those who died because of suicide were aged between 15 to 29 years old. A person can come up with the idea of taking out his/her own life by the young age of 15 which is very saddening. What more is there’s a possibility that 15-year-old and younger may have been attempting to take their own lives.
Suicide happens throughout different parts and sides of the world, affecting individuals of all nations, cultures, religions, genders and classes. In fact, some studies show that the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world are incredibly varied. Cite for example, among the top five countries are Sri Lanka which has 35.5 suicides, South Korea which has 28.3 suicides, and Lithuania which has 32.7 suicides per 100,000. Several other European countries have high suicide rates, such as in Latvia, Belarus, and Poland.
But really, why?
It’s probably obvious that what’s particularly problematic is that people who are having suicidal thoughts feel that they are not able to speak to others due to shame and some stigmas related to suicide. This make people who are depressed and in terrible despair decide to end their lives in the darkness as they feel dreadfully confused and afraid.
Depression is very life threatening that suicide is a possible outcome for it. People who are depressed may feel that they failed to live up to their potential. Some become depressed as they are not doing well in their own field of job. Depression is very wide that plenty things can be associated with it. It is frequently ignored which, unfortunately, prevents people from taking steps to help themselves.
For a person who is depressed and is currently in the stage of having suicidal thoughts, friends and family members may provide the support that is needed. It is very effective to have someone who is willing to listen to you whenever you are feeling down and hopeless. It relives someone and feels safe as he/she has someone who is concerned and worried. Mental health professionals who may be consulted include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and masters-level therapists. Each type of professional has their own view and expertise, and experts of all kinds have experience dealing with depression. To be safe, it is wise to seek help even when symptoms are not severe to help prevent depression from getting worse as early as possible.
If you think that someone you know is considering suicide, do not hesitate to talk to him/her. It is important to listen to what somebody has to say without judging their feelings. Having no opportunity to talk about how badly a person feels will only make him/her feel more isolated and alone. Avoid minimizing the person’s pain and making reckless comments such as telling that person that he/she have no reason to feel suicidal.
Some depressed people who are thinking of committing suicide might not respond to your attempts on helping and preventing something bad to happen but it’s important to be patient and sincere. In that way, possibility will arise that the person will open up to you.
Suicide threats should always be taken seriously because the truth is that few individuals are single-minded in their attempts to kill themselves and many are asking for help. Let’s not make fun of it. Let’s not use depression as a tool to gain social media attention. Mental health is a serious matter. We don’t know, maybe one of our friends who always give us happiness and laughter already went out of reasons to be happy.
Some might be smiling at us. We may see them laugh from time to time. But who knows, when they come back to their homes, emptiness and sadness surround them.
Some might say that people who are having suicidal thoughts are just overreacting. They might just receive your words because they’re tired of dealing with narrow-minded people. But, let us think twice as many. Do you think they’re fine?
There’s one misconception about people who want to commit suicide. It’s not that they want to die. They just want to stop living as they feel very hopeless and disheartened.
This Suicide Prevention Month, let us also bear in mind that not only ordinary people come up with suicidal thoughts but also famous celebrities and personalities. People went through a lot. All of us are having a hard time. But always remember that suicide can be prevented.
If you know someone having suicidal thoughts, contact the Philippines’ first depression and suicide prevention hotline 804-4673(HOPE).