On September 10, the world commemorated World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The event, usually organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), is generally meant to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. Death. We don’t like to discuss it in Kenya. Suicide, even less but I feel compelled to write about a subject deemed taboo or emasculating for people to talk about.
I say that primarily because it is about time attention is shed on the subject. Suicide is a growing problem worldwide. The rate has steadily increased over the past ten years and more people are committing suicide every other day. In fact, of the major leading causes of death globally, suicide is the only one steadily increasing in its rate.
Yet, it is still not discussed. This is evident when the death of a relative as a result of suicide is talked about in hushed tones. Generally, the acknowledgement of suicide has always been shadowed with much complexity. Maybe it is because it remains extraordinarily painful to know that someone you love took his or her own life. Feelings of guilt, sadness and anger persist long after the death.
There remains a great deal of shame associated with suicide. But it is vital to work to destigmatise suicide so that suicidal individuals can feel more comfortable to reach out for help and so that families and friends who have lost someone to suicide do not have to endure the pain of the death alone braving the emotional roller coaster.
“It is also imperative that as a country, we invest in enriching researching on the causes and preventive measures of suicidal tendencies”
It is also important to remember that in life we can have everything we have ever wanted — success, love, even happiness. But people who struggle with depression, more often than not, they are in a battle to keep their head up. Because the struggle is not at their jobs, the struggle is not with their friends or their families.
The struggle is inside them and it just does not go away without a little grit. Also, religious conviction and participation in religious activities can also assist in curbing or preventing poor mental health that includes depression.
Let us resolve in unison to support family members or friends going through depression. Let us decide to cause all that any of us can do, is keep striving to be that better person. The me that feels the weight of my own thoughts but keeps going anyway, keeps pushing my whole self towards being a better person.
No matter how long that struggle takes, if we can devote our lives to striving to be better people it is never going to be a wasted life. For anyone going through depression please keep fighting and seek support from family and friends. Life can get better if only you keep pushing a little longer.
It is also imperative that as a country, resources are invested in researching causes and preventive measures of suicide, especially rampant among citizens in their productive age.
This article was published on People Weekend on September 19-20, 2015