If you ever go to Japan, you may come across the Suicide Cliff or the infamous Suicide Forest. While the history of the Suicide Cliff might be justified for obvious reasons, the Suicide Forest is a serious concern among the Japanese. Hundreds of people of all ages have committed suicide since time immemorial and it is said that the place is haunted by the yurei – ghosts of the Japanese folklore.
Approximately a million deaths occur a year due to people committing suicide all around the world. The quantity is alarming and it needs to be addressed properly by every means. The prospect of taking one’s own life may seem ridiculous at first glance. However, to address those issues properly we have to delve deeper into the psyche of the people and imagine ourselves in their shoes. It will make sense only if we happen to get even a peep, however small, into their complex mind. Maybe the person in question has severe depression; maybe the person has some sort of serious midlife crisis that results in suicidal thoughts or he/she hasn’t found the meaning of life or is confused by the prospect of it. The very idea of life and its meaning terrifies them and fills their minds with doubt, lowering self-esteem.
In this Instagram filled world where everyone seeks attention and approval, it is not totally surprising that teens are one of the most prone to having suicidal thoughts and ending their lives. They fail to realize that their whole life is to be lived rather than be ended prematurely. They have their entire lives in front of them and they could do anything with it only if they let go of the idea that they aren’t going to be judged. And this begs the following question: Why are they too paranoid of failure? Why are they so afraid of being judged? To answer these questions is not an easy task. Society along with its stigmas plays a vital role. Teens are more prone to suicide than any other groups because they think whatever they do, they won’t be accepted by society. That they will be always judged no matter how hard they try. A stark example of this scenario is in fact very much prevalent in India. Every year a small number of students feel that they can’t take any more and so they commit suicide or attempt it. These suicides largely go unnoticed or seldom they appear in a corner of the news daily. It is worth mentioning that most of the times the students are blamed. They make it sound like it was the choice of the students to end their lives. Even though the figure is very small compared to the total number of students, it is still scary as compared to other parts of the world.
In developing countries, another section of the society is prone to having suicidal thoughts. In India, farmers commit suicide when they fall into the vicious cycle of the debt trap and cannot in anyway repay their debts that usually come with ridiculous interest rates. Often times their yield is decreased beyond recovery due to factors that are outside of their control, such as droughts and floods. Seeing no other way, the only possibility that they come up with is to end their lives.
In India, discussion about suicide is considered as a taboo. People either turn a deaf ear to these or completely ignore them. Prolonged illnesses, marital affairs, love affairs, unemployment, poverty, failure in examination, indebtedness are few of the many causes of suicide in India. The fact that people consider mental illness too trivially only adds to the woe. Suicide might have been an irrelevant issue some centuries earlier but it is absolutely relevant in today’s world. The staggering statistics – 17% of the world population that commits suicide are Indians, is enough to send the government into a frenzy but the nonchalant behavior of the government suggests otherwise. The government needs to step up and go the extra mile if they wish to decrease the suicide rate. In the World Happiness Report India manages a mere score of 4.19 securing the 133rd rank out of 156 countries. This in itself reflects a lot upon the fact that the government has not been actively involved in executing all of the things it’s supposed to have.
To prevent suicide first we have to know the factors causing it. Social isolation is one of the leading reasons for people committing suicide. It is different from loneliness, which is temporary while social isolation is prolonged. As mere citizens of the country, we can do many things starting at the community level. Identifying the early symptoms and addressing them properly may save a life eventually. We have to be aware of the people around us with whom we interact and open ourselves to them to make them feel more confident. We have to be more empathetic towards them. Every person has his or her own demons to conquer but we must remember that their demons are more destructive than us. Another leading reason is social disintegration. According to Wikipedia, it is the tendency for society to decline or disintegrate over time, perhaps due to the lapse or breakdown of traditional social support systems. The government can play a major role to reduce social disintegration. It can restructure its public aid policies aimed at the betterment of the lesser part of the society. Mental disorders are another reason necessary to deal with. As weird as it may sound, mental disorders are not looked upon as any other disorder at all in India. They are still considered taboo and people try to avoid discussions regarding it. Suicide has a direct correlation with mental illness and if it needs to be prevented then mental illness has to be cured. Finally, to prevent the farmers from committing suicide, the government has to step up its initiatives to make sure that the farmers are not left devastated. They can introduce policies aimed at the betterment of farmers such as regulate the price of pesticides so that they do not face huge losses just to feed the population.
Life is the most precious gift that one gets to live. There are people who are willing to spend their entire fortunes just to see the sunrise the following day. It shouldn’t be wasted no matter what life throws at us. Sure there will be moments of doubt, crisis and other low points in life but everyone should carry on and see the light of the next day and who knows what life may have in store for us. As Emily Dickinson puts it:
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves