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Death by Suicide

Published by The Nation on Sun, 26 May 2019

The government must recalibrate the economy in such a way that the factories will run again. Otherwise, the work force that we are training today and not using in these graduates will certainly explode someday.Whenever I have had the time, I have tried to update my record on movie watching. That is postscript-speake for I like to watch movies. This means essentially, I watch people who have been paid tonnes of money to act roles for my viewing pleasure. I agree its not fair; someday, I shall be paid too for watching. In the meantime, I have come to learn many terms such as death by natural causes, manslaughter, murder or suicide. Before I went into the movie industry (as a watcher, I promise you!), I thought death was death.The courts think differently, because they have varying degrees of sentences for each category. The only category they dont have a sentence for is death by suicide. Obviously, the criminal preempts the courts by cleverly removing himself or herself from the loving arms of Lady Justice. You know her, dont you' She is that blindfolded lady that has her arms permanently spread out to give you a hug when you commit a crime that will land you in Kirikiri. She holds a sword and a pair of scales; the scales are for measuring your crime, the sword is for cutting off the pound of flesh to atone. Grrrrr!Yes, dear reader, there are so many topics begging for attention this week, but none of them concerns me more right now than the continued disenchantment the young and old alike are finding with life, and which is causing them to take their own lives. Actually, this is a cause for national concern because the nation needs to ask itself why the suicide rate is rising and why many more people seem to be finding it easier to use suicide to solve their problems.You know what suicide is, dont you' It is difficult to joke with a topic like this, so we will be straight. Suicide is when an individual decides that he or she has had enough of life, because of too much physical or mental or financial suffering, and kills himself or herself using any method at hand, sniper or drug overdose being the favourites. Usually, such people do it silently, because they do not want the neighbours to know.The reports of those who have committed suicide have risen so astronomically in the country. Its so bad you dont know whether to ask each person you meet in the course of the day if they are thinking of ending their life. Who knows: you might offend or you might save. Seriously, the rate of this disorder is alarming. In the news report on this topic, the rate in Nigeria is said to be almost one case per week at 9.5 per 100, 000, citing Nigerias ranking as 10thin Africa and 67thin the world.The reasons people easily resort to suicide can range from emotional problems to economic challenges, work stress, lifes stresses, setbacks, substance abuse, failure to achieve goals, mental or terminal illnesses, diminishing job prospects, etc. It becomes worrisome however when the youth are taking to it like a fad. Someone said it is trending! You know the youth, dont you' It is that part of the population which thinks that the sun ought always to be shining in the eyes of their girl or boy friends, and whenever it doesnt, then the end of the world has come.Indeed, another source told me that there are many cases of suicide not reported in the media or in the statistics, citing some young ones in his hospital who had attempted suicide and failed, while some had succeeded, on account of being jilted by one boy or girl friend. This I think is why doctors in our midst warned that there are likely to be many more suicides in that age bracket because the country is breeding immature adults, according to a news report.I am no psychiatrist, but clearly, psychological tensile strains differ. Peoples ability to absorb failure and take things in their strides varies largely. Sadly, the toxic level of the country right now is rather high, what with boko haram insurgency, herdsmen attacks, kidnappings, economic downturn, social disconnections, reduced family presence, etc. All these are toxins that can act as catalysts and tip an individual with a weak strength over the edge.What can we do' We all need suicide-proof vests. The main sources of hope seem to revolve around interventions from government, family and society. Unfortunately, there are only two industries in Nigeria right now: government and schools. It is an aberration that the government is the largest employer of labour and cannot even absorb everyone; it is a sign that its economic programmes are anything but working. Many factories have closed down because of the economy. Many people have lost their jobs, and worse, many young ones have less hope of being employed. On the other hand, schools are training and bringing out graduates in their thousands each year, bringing us to the point where we have all these graduates who are all dressed up, and nowhere to go.The government must firm up its economic policies to allow the private sector regain its strength. A vibrant economy is one that is run by the private sector. The government must recalibrate the economy in such a way that the factories will run again. Otherwise, the work force that we are training today and not using in these graduates will certainly explode someday.The family needs to also find itself again. It is lost, presently. Too many families are too fractured to make any meaningful impact in their members lives, yet the family is the bulwark for most people. When the world fails one, the family should provide the shoulder to cry on. Not many people have that. This is why many a young one puts his or her anchor in a boy or girl and conclude there is nothing else to live for when that anchor fails. Too many parents do not have the time to nurture their young ones and teach them about the deep, deep things of life. Family communication is a vital part of growing up; children learn the skills of persuasion there.Social networks are also very useful for people. Friends, associates, colleagues, can be strong suicide-proof vests. When birds of the same feather flock together, they tend to fly safely or perish together. True, we live in a get rich quick society but sooner or later, everyone finds out that there is no such thing. However, true friendship shows through in individuals and we would come to have something to cherish in each other.Everyone should also be nurtured or nurture him or herself to believe that we all have duties towards the self, others, country and the world. To the self, life is sacrosanct and we are expected to guard it jealously. We have a right not to be killed; and we certainly have no right to take our own lives.How to make life more comfortable for other people rather than pursuing our own comfort should be ones focus. This would probably reduce the level of selfishness we are witnessing in the country in the embezzlements and sectional pursuits. It is everyones duty to contribute positively to this country and the world at large.When people are taking their own lives, it is a sign that the countrys religions are not working as they should. The leaders have not provided adequate and worthy models of behaviour for their followers. Thats for another day. I understand there are up to 40-60 million people with mental disorders in this country and only 200 psychiatrists. That is 40-60 million reasons why this country needs to firm up and get its mental house in order to reduce deaths by suicide.
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