Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teen Suicide

Dunno where to start really. Got a lot of things I'd like to talk about at the same time but I guess I'll have to take things slow and steady. There's always a tendency to get too overly excited...........and indeed I am excited.

One thing I'll like to address is the topic of one of Oprah Winfrey's shows: Teen Suicide.

I was taken in by the mothers of 2 11 year old boys who had committed suicide at home. One had just buried her son 3 days previously while the other buried her son 2 weeks before coming on the show. Both of them stated that their boys complained of bullying at school and they believe this was what drove their boys to suicide. Both boys committed suicide by hanging.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, surpassed only by accidents and homicide.

According to KidsHealth:

Suicide rates differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights.


I found the show quite alarming and more alarming was the fact that the trend was or is on the increase. Down here in Africa, suicide's not common. It's generally believed that suicide's a western problem.

I marvel at the irony that lies hidden in that truth: Suicide's commoner in a place where there's hardly any hunger or suffering. A place where under 5 mortality rate is below 5%. A place where the basic amenities that make life worth living are within reach. But suicide is rare in a place where 3 out of every 5 children die from Malaria, malnutrition or from a complete lack of access to medical treatment before they reach the age of 5. It is rare in a place where constant electricity/power supply is a privilege (I still can't help jumping up anytime I turn on the light switch and the bulb comes on!!!!).

This all means that when one is deprived of what makes life easier and fun, he/she's forced to look inward and lay less emphasis on what the rest of the world considers "the source of happiness".

Nevertheless, the sooner this suicide trend is addressed by families, the government and school authorities; the better for us all.