The act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind.
Suicide may have psychological origins such as the difficulty of coping with depression or other mental disorders; it may be motivated by the desire to test the affection of loved ones or to punish their lack of support with the burden of guilt. It may also stem from social and cultural pressures, especially those that tend to increase isolation, such as bereavement or estrangement. Attitudes toward suicide have varied in different ages and cultures; convicted criminals .In ancient Greece were permitted to take their own lives, and the Japanese custom of seppuku (also called hara-kiri), or self-disembowelment, allowed samurai to commit ritual suicide as a way of protecting honor and demonstrating loyalty. Jews committed suicide rather than submit to ancient Roman conquerors or crusading knights who intended to force their conversion. In the 20th century, members of new religious movements, notably the Peoples Temple and Heaven's Gate, committed mass suicide. Buddhist monks and nuns have also committed sacrificial suicide by self-immolation as a form of social protest. Japan's use of kamikaze suicide bombers during World War II was a precursor to the suicide bombing that emerged in the late 20th century as a form of terrorism, particularly among Islamic extremists. Suicide, however, is generally condemned by Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and attempts to commit suicide are still punishable by law in many countries. Some communities around the world have sought to legalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Euthanasia was legalized in The Netherlands in 2001 and Belgium in 2002, and it is openly practiced in Colombia. Since the 1950s suicide-prevention organizations have been established in many countries, with telephone hot lines serving as a source of readily available counseling. Suicide methods can be classified according to two modes of interrupting one's life processes: physical or chemical. Physical modes of interruption typically act by incapacitating the respiratory system or the central nervous system, usually by destruction of one or more key components. Chemical modes focus on interrupting biologically significant processes such as cellular respiration or diffusion capacity. Chemical methods of suicide produce latent evidence of action, whereas physical methods provide direct evidence Bleeding
Suicide by exsanguinations involves reducing the volume and pressure of the blood to below critical levels by inducing massive blood loss. It is usually the result of damage inflicted on arteries. The carotid, radial, ulnar or femoral arteries may be targeted. Death may occur directly as a result of the desanguination of the body or via hypovolemia, wherein the blood volume in the circulatory system becomes too low and results in the body shutting down. Persons considering a suicide attempt, or trying out the weapon to ascertain its effectiveness, may first make shallow cuts, referred to as "hesitation wounds" or "tentative wounds" in the literature. They are often non-lethal, multiple parallel cuts. Wrist cutting
Wrist cutting is sometimes practiced with the goal of self-mutilation and not suicide; however, if the bleeding is copious and/or allowed to continue unchecked, cardiac arrhythmia, followed by severe hypovolemia, shock, circulatory collapse and/or cardiac arrest, and death may ensue, in that order. In the case of a failed suicide attempt, the person may experience injury of the tendons of the extrinsic flexor muscles, or the ulnar and median nerves which control the muscles of the hand, both of which can result in temporary or permanent reduction in the victim's sensory and/or motor ability and/or also cause chronic somatic or autonomic pain. As in any class IV hemorrhage, aggressive resuscitation is required to prevent death of the patient; standard emergency bleeding control applies for pre-hospital treatment. Arterial bleeding is identified by the rhythmic gush of blood (in unison with the heartbeat) that is bright red in color. Venous bleeding produces a continuous stream of blood of a darker red color. Arterial bleeding is more difficult to control and usually more life-threatening. Drowning
Suicide by drowning is the act of deliberately submerging oneself in water or other liquid to prevent breathing and deprive the brain of oxygen. Due to the body's natural tendency to come up for air, drowning attempts often involve the use of a heavy object to overcome this reflex. As the level of carbon dioxide in the victim's blood rises, the central nervous system sends the respiratory muscles an involuntary signal to contract, and the person breathes in water. Death usually occurs as the level of oxygen becomes too low to sustain the brain cells. It is among the least common methods of suicide, typically accounting for less than 2% of all reported suicides in the United States. Suffocation
Suicide by suffocation is the act of inhibiting one's ability to breathe or limiting oxygen uptake while breathing, causing hypoxia and eventually asphyxia. This may involve an exit bag (a plastic bag fixed over the head) or confinement in an enclosed space without oxygen. These attempts involve using depressants to make the user pass out due to the oxygen deprivation before the instinctive panic and the urge to escape due to the hypercapnic alarm response. It is impossible for someone to commit suicide by simply holding their breath, as the level of oxygen in the blood becomes too low, the brain sends an involuntary reflex, and the person breathes in as the respiratory muscles contract. Even if one is able to overcome this response to the point of becoming unconscious, in this condition, it's no longer possible to control breathing, and a normal rhythm is reestablished. Because of this, one is more likely to commit suicide by breathing toxic gases, instead of preventing breath. Helium, argon, nitrogen and carbon monoxide are commonly used in suicides by suffocation. Breathing inert gas quickly renders a person unconscious, and may cause death within minutes. Hypothermia
Suicide by hypothermia or by cold, is a slow death that goes through several stages. Hypothermia begins with mild symptoms, gradually leading to moderate and severe penalties. This may involve shivering, delirium, hallucinations, lack of coordination, sensations of warmth, then finally death. One's organs cease to function, though clinical brain death can be prolonged. Electrocution
Suicide by electrocution involves using a lethal electric shock to kill oneself. This causes arrhythmias of the heart, meaning that the heart does not contract in synchrony between the different chambers, essentially causing elimination of blood flow. Furthermore, depending on the amount of electrical current, burns may also occur. In his opinion outlawing the electric chair as a method of execution, Justice William M. Connolly of the Nebraska Supreme Court stated that "electrocution inflicts intense pain and agonizing suffering" and inflicted "unnecessary pain, suffering and torture. Jumping from height
Jumping from height is the act of jumping from high altitudes, for example, from a window (self-defenestration or auto-defenestration), balcony or roof of a high rise building, cliff, dam or bridge. This method, in most cases, results in severe consequences if the attempt fails, such as paralysis, organ damage, and bone fractures. Firearms
A common suicide method is to use a firearm. Generally, the bullet will be aimed at point-blank range, often at the head or, less commonly, into the mouth, under the chin, or pointed at the chest. Worldwide, firearm prevalence in suicides varies widely, depending on the acceptance and availability of firearms in a culture. The use of firearms in suicides ranges from less than 10% in Australia to 53.7% in the U.S., where it has been the most common method of suicide. A failed suicide attempt by firearm may result in severe chronic pain for the patient as well as reduced cognitive abilities and motor function, subdural hematoma, foreign bodies in the head, pneumocephalus and cerebrospinal fluid leaks. For temporal bone directed bullets, temporal lobe abscess, meningitis, aphasia, hemianopsia, and hemiplegia are common late intracranial complications. As many as 50% of people who survive gunshots wounds directed at the temporal bone suffer facial nerve damage, usually due to a severed nerve. Hanging
When hanging one's self, the subject uses some type of ligature, as in a rope or a cord, to form a noose (or loop) around the throat, with the opposite end secured to some fixture. Depending on the placement of the noose and other factors, the subject strangles or suffers a broken neck. In the event of death, the actual cause often depends on the length of the drop; that is, the distance the subject falls before the rope goes taut. In a "short drop", the victim may die from strangulation, in which the death may result from a lack of oxygen to the brain. The victim is likely to experience hypoxia, skin tingling, dizziness, vision narrowing, convulsions, shock, and acute respiratory acidosis. One or both carotid arteries and/or the jugular vein may also be compressed sufficiently to cause cerebral ischemia and a hypoxic condition in the brain which will eventually result in or contribute to death. In a typical "long drop", the subject is likely to suffer one or more fractures of the cervical vertebrae, generally between the second and fifth, which may cause paralysis or death. In extremely long drops, the hanging may result in complete decapitation. Hanging is the prevalent means of suicide in pre-industrial societies, and is more common in rural areas than in urban areas. It is also a common means of suicide in situations where other materials are not readily available, such as in prisons. Vehicular impact
Another way of committing suicide is deliberately placing oneself in the path of a large and fast-moving vehicle, resulting in fatal impact. Rail
Suicide is accomplished by positioning oneself on a railway track when a train approaches or in advance, or driving a car onto the tracks. Suicide by train impact has resulted in a 90% death rate, making it one of the most fatal suicide methods. Failed attempts may result in profound injuries, such as massive fractures, amputations, concussion and severe mental and physical handicapping. Metro systems
Jumping in front of an oncoming subway train has a 59% death rate, lower than the 90% death rate for rail-related suicides. This is most likely because trains traveling on open tracks travel relatively quickly, whereas trains arriving at a subway station are decelerating so that they can stop and board passengers. Different methods have been used in order to decrease the number of suicide attempts in the underground: for instance, deep drainage pits halve the likelihood of fatality. Separation of the passengers from the track by means of a partition with sliding doors is being introduced in some stations, but is expensive. Traffic collisions
Some car crashes are the deliberate result of suicides. This especially applies to single-occupant, single-vehicle accidents, "because of the frequency of its use, the generally accepted inherent hazards of driving, and the fact that it offers the individual an opportunity to imperil or end his life without consciously confronting himself with his suicidal intent.There is always the risk that a car accident will affect other road users; for example, a car that brakes abruptly or swerves to avoid a suicidal pedestrian may collide with something else on the road. Poison
Suicide can be committed by using fast-acting poisons, such as hydrogen cyanide, or substances which are known for their high levels of toxicity to humans. For example, most of the people of Jonestown, in northwestern Guyana, died when Jim Jones, the leader of a religious sect, organized a mass suicide by drinking a cocktail of diazepam and cyanide in 1978.Sufficient doses of some plants like the belladonna family, castor beans, Jatropha curcas and others, are also toxic. Poisoning through the means of toxic plants, is usually slower and is relatively painful.[5 Pesticide
Worldwide, 30% of suicides are from pesticide poisonings. The use of this method, however, varies markedly in different areas of the world, from 4% in Europe to more than 50% in the Pacific region Drug overdose
Overdose is a method of suicide which involves taking medication in doses greater than the indicated levels, or in a combination that will interact to either cause harmful effects or increase the potency of one or other of the substances. An overdose is the preferred method of dignified dying among members of right-to-die societies. A poll among members of right-to-die society Exit International has shown that 89% would prefer to take a pill, rather than use a plastic exit bag, a CO generator, or use 'slow euthanasia'. Carbon monoxide
A particular type of poisoning involves inhalation of high levels of carbon monoxide. Death usually occurs through hypoxia. In most cases carbon monoxide (CO) is used because it is easily available as a product of incomplete combustion; for example, it is released by cars and some types of heaters. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, so its presence cannot be detected by sight or smell. It acts by binding preferentially to the hemoglobin in the victim's blood, displacing oxygen molecules and progressively deoxygenating the blood, eventually resulting in the failure of cellular respiration, and death. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous to bystanders and people who may discover the body, so "Right to Die" advocates like Philip Nitschke recommend the use of safer alternatives like nitrogen, for example in his EXIT euthanasia device. Other toxins
Detergent-related suicide involves mixing household chemicals to produce hydrogen sulfide or other poisonous gases.The suicide rates by domestic gas fell from 1960 to 1980. Several creatures, such as spiders, snakes, and scorpions, carry venoms that can easily and quickly kill a person. These substances can be used to conduct suicide. For example, Cleopatra supposedly had an asp bite her when she heard of Marc Antony's death. Disease
There have been several documented cases of deliberately contracting a fatal disease such as AIDS as a means of suicide. Immolation
Immolation usually refers to suicide by fire. It has been used as a protest tactic, most famously by Thích Quảng Đức in 1963 to protest the South Vietnamese government's systematic anti-Buddhist, pro-Catholic policies; by Malachi Ritscher in 2006 to protest the United States' involvement in the Iraq War; and by Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia which started the Tunisian Revolution in 2011 and the Arab Spring. Self-immolation was also carried out as a ritual known as sati in certain parts of India, where a Hindu wife immolated herself in her dead husband's funeral pyre, either voluntarily or by coercion. The Latin root of "immolate" means "sacrifice", and is not restricted to the use of fire, though in common US media usage the term immolation refers to suicide by fire. This method of suicide is relatively rare due to the long and painful experience one has to go through before death sets in. This is also contributed to by the ever-present risk that the fire is extinguished before death sets in, and in that way causes one to live with severe burnings, scar tissue, and the emotional impact of such horrific injuries. Ritual suicide
Ritual suicide is performed in a prescribed way, often as part of a religious or cultural practice. Autosacrifice
Human sacrifice was a religious activity throughout Mesoamerica. In Aztec and Maya culture, autosacrifice involving self-decapitation by priests and kings is depicted in artworks.The sacrifice is usually depicted holding an obsidian knife or axe to the side of the neck. Starvation
Anorexia nervosa has been referred to as a subconscious form of suicide. However, death as a result of self-starvation in AN is not listed on death certificates as suicide. Dehydration
Death from dehydration can take from several days to a few weeks. This means that unlike many other suicide methods, it cannot be accomplished impulsively. Those who die by terminal dehydration typically lapse into unconsciousness before death, and may also experience delirium and deranged serum sodium. Discontinuation of hydration does not produce true thirst, although a sensation of dryness of the mouth often is reported as "thirst." The evidence this is not true thirst is extensive and shows the ill feeling is not relieved by giving fluids intravenously, but is relieved by wetting the tongue and lips and proper care of the mouth. Patients with edema tend to take longer to die of dehydration because of the excess fluid in their bodies. Explosion
Another method is death by explosion. High-explosives (such as dynamite, TNT, and C4) that are certain to explode and release an extreme amount of energy are often used to avoid unnecessary pain. Suicide attack
A suicide attack is an attack in which the attacker (attacker being either an individual or a group) intends to kill others and intends to die in the process of doing so. In a suicide attack in the strictest sense, the attacker dies by the attack itself, for example in an explosion or crash caused by the attacker. The term is sometimes loosely applied to an incident in which the intention of the attacker is not clear, though he is almost sure to die by the defense or retaliation of the attacked party, e.g., "suicide by cop", that is, menacing or assaulting an armed police officer with a weapon or apparent or proclaimed harmful intent which all but ensures that the cop will use deadly force to terminate the attack. This can also be referred to as murder/suicide. Indirect suicide
Indirect suicide is the act of setting out on an obviously fatal course without directly committing the act upon oneself. Indirect suicide is differentiated from legally defined suicide by the fact that the actor does not pull the figurative (or literal) trigger. Examples of indirect suicide include a soldier enlisting in the army with the express intention and expectation of being killed in combat. Another example would be provoking an armed officer into using lethal force against them. This is generally called "suicide by cop". In some instances the subject commits a capital crime in hope of being sentenced to death. AGE
Some forms of suicide that are commonly reported include hanging, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, stabbing and burning oneself, taking poison, jumping from high points, drowning oneself or even crashing one’s car. Even though there are no official national records on the rate of suicides in Kenya, the World Health Organization (WHO), through a research done in 2003, estimates that between the age of 15 and 24, there are 19.2 suicide deaths for every 100,000 males and 5.6 for every 100,000 females in Kenya. In the CSA survey, as many as 6.8 percent of males and 10 percent of females (in other words, one in ten young Kenyan women) reported having attempted suicide at least once. Globally, three times more women than men report attempting suicide, but men are more likely to succeed. In Sub-Saharan Africa men are almost five times more likely to die from suicide than women. While there are no national figures on suicide rates for young people in Kenya, global figures from WHO indicate a worldwide suicide rate of 19.2 per 100,000 among 15 to 24 year old males and 5.6 per 100,000 among females in the same age group. World Health Organization (WHO) data indicates that about a million people commit suicide annually. And for every person who dies, there are 20 more people who unsuccessfully attempt suicide. The occurrence of reported suicide cases amongst young people is alarming and yet many cases go unreported because the subject is taboo in most cultures. It is worth noting that the majority of reported suicide cases among the youth happen amongst students in high schools, colleges and universities. Suicide this country is more rampant among the youth than adults and that is the worrying bit. There are several examples of young people who have ended their lives in suicide. These cut across different ages, social-economic backgrounds, ethnic and religious groups. There is no evidence to show that the poor commit suicide more than the rich or vice versa. Simply put, suicide is unselective and this is why each one of us must be concerned. The East African Standard reported that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared September 10 the World Suicide Prevention Day, every day 3,000 people commit suicide around the world. This adds up to a total of about one million deaths annually equal to the number of people who die from malaria or a successful suicide every 40 seconds. Even more worrying, the WHO says, 20 times more people attempt suicide. Although data on suicides is not readily available in Kenya, anecdotal evidence suggests that the problem is on the rise. According to police records in Kenya, there are now more than 2,000 suicides recorded each year, and the numbers are rising. The number could actually be higher, experts say, as not all are reported and documented. A part from jumping off tall buildings and waterfalls, the most common methods of suicides in Kenya, according to police reports, are hangings and the ingestion of pesticides and other chemicals, and medicinal drugs overdose.“The fact that cases of suicide are reported in the media every other day shows that the problem is prevalent,” says Rachel Kibinge, a Nairobi psychologist. “We need a national programme to establish the causes of the problem so that solutions can be developed.”The increase in suicides in countries like Kenya mirrors the global situation. Worldwide, the WHO says suicide rates have increased by 60 per cent over the past 50 years. According to the WHO, the rising number of suicides can in part be attributed to low awareness of the problem, as well as lack of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempt suicide unsuccessfully. According to the Kenya penal code for instance, anybody who attempts suicide is guilty of a crime and could face a jail term. But the WHO says suicide survivors should be treated with more empathy as patients, not criminals. Mental disorders, particularly depression and substance abuse, the agency says, cause more than 90 per cent of all suicides. Jennifer Kimani, the national co-ordinator of the National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada), which recently launched a 24-hour helpline, agrees that drug abuse is a leading cause of suicide in the country. “The problem of drug abuse can lead to low self-esteem and self-value that can easily degenerate into depression and suicide,” observed Ms Kimani recently.
Causes of suicide
According to John Gacheru, a counseling psychologist at The Growth Centre located at the Upper Hill Medical Centre, suicide indicates a battle within oneself. By the time one results to suicide, he has deep underlying problems for a prolonged period of time. John says that the three main causes of suicide are depression, deficiency of important coping skills, and family dysfunctions. Depression is the most undiagnosed problem among young people. Sometimes the caregivers or parents ignore signs in their children that could point to depression. Depression is largely a mental illness, where the mind only focuses on the gloomy situations, hopelessness and despair. Depressed people have a lot of negative energy – they are possessed with their body image and they have a tendency of seeing themselves less worthy and less qualified compared to others. John says, adding that if depression goes on for a long time without treatment it could lead to suicide. Some young people are deficient of key skills such as decision-making, negotiating and communications skills and thus are at a disadvantaged position when dealing with some situations. Family dysfunction such as divorce and separation affects people’s response to issues in life. Most of the young people who commit suicide do it with the mindset that they are punishing their parents. Other minor reasons for suicide are cases of bullying in school or holding a secret for too long, particularly cases of sexual molestations. If the family does not have an open channel of communication, the pain may become unbearable resulting to suicide,” he says. Pastor Dick Shikuku, a youth pastor with Deliverance Church, Kasarani, is no stranger to cases of suicide amongst his flock. He says that some months ago he counseled a teenager who contemplated ending his life because of the recent Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results. The teenager felt unworthy, unloved and hopeless when he did not attain the grade he had anticipated. Lack of affirmation from parents, feeling of inadequacy and low self-esteem are major causes of young people feeling desperate when they fail in their academics as by Pastor Shikuku. He also attributes some cases of suicide to demonic attacks, lack of mentorship and lack of knowledge on what God says about life in the bible. Cases of rejection and self-denial, low self-image, and lack of mentorship and parental guidance are also partly to blame for suicide. However, Pastor Shikuku is quick to note that young people need to identify people they can open up to; they should also join support groups, which encourage accountability. According to Angela Gills, a renowned writer and researcher, many young people who commit suicide feel rejected and alone, unappreciated and unloved. The lot feels nobody among their teachers, parents and peers wants, needs or loves them.“Their fear of failure and rejection becomes so great that they choose to face death rather than continue facing life,” says Gills. A young woman who sought anonymity says that sometimes there are many unhappy situations at home such as alcoholism, unavailable parents, violence, marital conflicts, separation or divorce and lack of money that escalates cases of students committing suicide. “Parents need to watch out for changes in academic performance and social status of their children. For example, your child may portray tendencies of the need to be alone or a drastic change in their daily behavior, rudeness and a careless attitude. These are danger signs that something is amiss. If your child regularly complains of extreme fatigue, has decreased appetite, loses weight rapidly and is unable to concentrate, is truant, abuses drugs, portrays rebellion and destructive behavior, his situation should be addressed to quickly,” she notes. According to counselors, broken relationships, financial difficulties, drug abuse, academic issues and HIV/AIDS rank top the list as reasons for suicide and attempted suicide.
Treatment for suicidal thoughts and behaviors
John Gacheru advises that when dealing with adolescents, parents should always be involved. Involvement should not just be about doing homework together but it should deliberately involve spending time together and building a good relationship. “Teenagers will often dismiss parents who only tell them to keep off drugs and sex. If their children are not involved in either of these they will find their parents irrelevant,” he says. Another solution, according to John, is for parents to embrace their children’s uniqueness without comparing them to others. “Parenting is a challenge and parents should attend parenting forums where they are able to share with other parents on their successes and failures. Seeking marriage therapy is also beneficial because a happy marriage will produce emotionally healthy children,” says John. While he agrees that mental health is better for people who are religious than the atheists because of the coping mechanisms religion offers, he is quick to point out that many researches in America show that suicide is equally common among religious conscious families, as well those who are not necessarily religious. Solutions
The society, family, individuals and the church all have a role to play in curbing the suicide menace. Some practical ways include: setting up guidance and counseling departments in schools and the school administration promoting programmes to educate staff, students and parents. The teachers and parents have the capability of stemming the tide of the student suicide phenomenon. Those who work with young people in various capacities, be it in church or in mentorship groups, should understand the complexities of teenagers and adolescent development and the multiple issues they must deal with. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of adolescent depression. Open channels of communication between parents and teachers should also be encouraged and nurtured. According to the Pastor Shikuku, getting spiritual leaders who are committed to help young people with programmes that are holistic in approach can bring a turnaround in their lives. He also adds that teachers should instill the principles of perseverance among students, while parents should strive to be present for their children. Having talk therapy that focuses on helping the person understand how their thoughts and behaviors affect each other is an effective approach for people with thoughts of harming themselves. In a symposium on suicide held towards in November last year at the University of Nairobi, with the rising suicides in the country, the symposium attended by university students among other participants sought to demystify the term suicide which is regarded as a taboo topic in some Kenyan communities. Dr Karatu Kiemo of University of Nairobi says the rising cases of suicide especially among the youth in universities are worrying, calling on the government to initiate a forum where the problem can be addressed. During the forum, Dr. Kiemo expressed concern that Kenya has no proper statistics on the cases which makes it even more hard to deal with the problem. He, however, says a 2003 WHO sponsored global school-based survey on pupils ages 13 to 15 revealed high level of suicide in Coast Province with 38.6 percent of those interviewed saying they had considered committing suicide. In Central, the number stands at 27.4 percent. Kiemo describes suicide as a deliberate, willful, self inflicted and life threatening act resulting to death. He adds provision of adequate treatment and follow-up care for people who attempt suicide, as well as responsible reporting of suicide cases is needed. According to Patrick Mandanda of Kenya Counseling Association, suicide is as old as humanity. He says every human being has a potential for self destruction or self actualization."In many situations, suicide in a person is dormant waiting for a circumstance to trigger it to explode. There is need to seek help if need be," says Mandanda.Mandanda says people under pressure to succeed in something are likely to have a suicidal mind."Some of the cases we receive are of university students who were either forced to take a certain course by their parents, while others contemplate of committing suicide after becoming pregnant while still in school," he says.” Every human being encounters challenges in life, but all have different capacities to deal with them," says Mandanda
In the recent past we have heard and read in several sections of the media cases of violence within relationships. This has in most cases resulted in deaths either through murder or suicide. We have also heard or read about many cases of suicide – football fanatics committing suicide for various reasons, young students in schools, universities and other institutions of learning, people in the armed forces using their guns, politicians, children of the wealthy – all choosing to end their lives and sometimes those of their loved ones. In reality, the stigma associated with suicide makes the subject to be discussed in hushed tones. One university student interviewed in a research and who sought anonymity says, “There is a lot of pressure in our campuses to lead your life in a particular way. If one is not careful, campus life can be tricky especially if you lack any prior preparation or guidance from an adult. For instance, the pressure to be in a relationship is great, yet failed relationships are one of the key factors that contribute to most suicides. A relationship gone sour often brings about feelings of betrayal and loss, which if not handled well may result in suicide.” She goes on to say, “Also there is pressure to engage in drugs and deviant sexual behavior such as masturbation, lesbianism or homosexuality. In some instances it may start in ignorant ways all in the name of having a good time. The end result is often a serious problem that leaves one in self-reproach, which may weigh you down and suicide seems the easiest escape route.” According to this student, most college students are overwhelmed by the freedom that comes with being in college. “Many people who have passed through college leave with a few regrets. For some, college was the time they got into a relationship – casual or serious and ended up losing their virginity in regrettable circumstances. Others got into reckless drinking and engaged in casual sex, got sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies and in some instances abortions, leaving them sorry and desperate hence committing suicide. Generally, there is a lot of self discovery which can have adverse results in the end if not done in moderation,” she explains. According to Catherine Karongo of Capital News Nairobi, in the recent past, the number of suicide and attempted suicide cases especially among University students has been on the increase. This has left many families shocked and disillusioned. However, more worrying is the fact that not many families are willing to talk about it and many will go to any lengths to deny and hide a suicide or a case of attempted suicide. At the Kenyatta National Hospital, about 100 suicide attempt cases of young adults between 18 and 25 years have been attended to in the last two months. Elizabeth Mwavisa, a Psychological Counselor at the hospital says that some are just from the communities around but majority are from Nairobi University, they are the ones that have tendencies to commit suicide. She has attended to one case from Daystar University. Others are from USIU (United States International University) and Kenyatta University. Those are the four universities that she has personally gone through with that problem According to a parent in Nairobi who has a son and daughter in college, the social fabric is to blame for the rampant suicide tendencies. The social structures in the society – the church, media, political leadership and the family seem dysfunctional, leaving the young people confused and without a support system. “In the past, whenever people lost hope they would unashamedly walk to their pastor, relatives, friends or whoever else they felt free to talk to. This is not the case anymore as parents sometimes get too busy for their children in the name of looking for money to keep their families well provided for, and some pastors have become too materialistic to offer any genuine help. Our society is also becoming more individualistic and hence most people suffer in silence,” says the parent Pamela Bii is the mother of a second year University student who recently took his life. She has decided to go public with what she sees as a hidden disaster. “The reason why I am doing this is for parents to wake up. There is a problem in the higher learning institutions. We do not need to see so many children dying in this manner. There are many children who have committed suicide; your child should not just be a number, a statistic. It should be checked what happened, it is wrong to keep quiet about it, there is no shame about suicide,” she emphasizes. Pamela’s first born son, Brian Bii, 21, was a student at the USIU, Nairobi campus. She says there was no way of telling that Brian would commit suicide, because according to her, everything was normal.” We talked maturely with him, we had conversations with him, and he would listen so we are really baffled. We have no clue what happened to Brian,” she explains of her son who killed himself at the family’s home in Nairobi’s South C Estate. Brian left no suicide note and all the family can do now is speculate on why he chose to take his life. “What I feel is that there could be something, there may be pressure coming out of school or some gang land kind of stuff. We are just speculating, we have no idea, but we have a feeling that there is some pressure that was being exerted to him and he was in a position of either being compromised or he had agreed or something, I am not sure. He grew up in a Christian environment, he knew God and that is why we don’t understand what happened,” she says. There are unconfirmed reports of six suicide cases at USIU, but the management says there are no official records of suicide cases at the institution. According to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs of USIU Rita Asunda, there are seven recorded deaths at the institution but they are resultant of a variety of reasons such as road accidents, illnesses and the recent kidnapping and murder of a fourth year student, Sarah Aruwa. The Institution which is mainly a day campus has 5,200 students. University statistics indicate that 265 students there went through psychological counseling in the last semester. “I know that not many places have parental education and this is a difficult stage for most parents because once the students come to the university, the assumption is that they are adults and yet there are issues that they have to deal with,” explains Lucy Kung’u, Head of Counseling at USIU. “They have to deal with adult issues like do I take alcohol don’t I take alcohol, do I smoke don’t I smoke, do I have a girlfriend, do I marry, you know those issues. So parents have a big role to play and yes there are times we will give them counseling here, (then) they will go home and relapse,” she goes on to say. According to a student in USIU, people literally go out every night of the week so you find that it is either you are in for the education or the flashy lifestyle. If you are in for the flashy lifestyle you flop in education, if it’s the education then you miss the lifestyle and then the pressure now piles on you. “You come in here innocent but when you see the party life, guys are influencing you, you try to fit in and that is where the problem begins,” says another. In May last year, a University of Nairobi Student killed himself at his parents’ home and the reason remains unknown. A student at Daystar University revealed to us that three of their colleagues had killed themselves. One committed suicide in 2010, and the two in last year. The first student apparently had the AIDS virus and had slept with a large number of the female students. The second one was a very social and friendly person who burnt himself to death with petrol and the third student was suffering from depression. Suicide is the act of deliberately killing oneself. Reasons for suicide include depression, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, or schizophrenia, and some physical illnesses, such as neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection. Mental disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide; however, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur particularly during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis situations (e.g. loss of a loved one, employment, honor). People die by suicide more often during spring and summer. The idea that suicide is more common during Christmas is a common misconception. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
• In 2000, approximately one million people died from suicide: a "global" mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds. • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (both sexes); these figures do not include suicide attempts up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. • Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
Men are more likely to commit suicide than women but the latter are more likely to attempt. It has been suggested that since men are more likely to choose a violent means (guns, knives) of suicide, there is a higher 'success' rate whereas women use more "failure-prone" methods such as overdosing on medications.
Reasons for this gender difference may lie in women's greater propensity to seek psychological and medical attention, suggest some psychologists. Younger women are more likely to resort to deliberate self-harm and attempted suicide, rather than suicide itself. Greater social stigma against male depression and a lack of social networks of support and help with depression are often identified as key reasons for men's disproportionately higher level of suicides, since suicide as a "cry for help" is not seen by men as an equally viable option. Typically males die from suicide three to four times more often as females. • In the United Kingdom and Ireland for example, 6, 000 people commit suicide; 1,500 of these are women. Although the number of young men committing suicide has increased over the past couple of decades, suicides among women have fallen. • In Australia, which has a high rate of young male suicides, there are three times more men committing suicide than women: for example, in the age group of 25-34, 394 men and 106 women suicide in 2003. • In the United States, the elderly have the highest rate of suicide. Suicide represents 1% of all deaths. 80% of suicides of elderly men are committed with a firearm. • China is the only country in the world where more women than men take their own lives, with female suicides representing 58 percent of the total.
More men commits suicides than women...
They were not able to show what they really feels,
they are just hiding their emotions...
They are afraid to lose their prides as a man.
And when the time comes, they cannot handle those feelings anymore, some men prefer to commit suicides.
I have read on several occasions (Australian statistics) that though women are approximately 4x more likely to attempt suicide, men are on average 4x more successful at achieving the desired outcome (death). This is usually due to the fact that men choose more violent suicides, including shooting or hanging themselves. Women tend to elect more "soft" suicide options like wrist-cutting and pill overdoses, which have more hope of resuscitation if discovered early. In conclusion- Men are 4 xs more likely to die from deliberate self-injurious behavior than women 7 People Committed Suicide in the Bible
Let's begin by looking at the seven accounts of suicide in the Bible. Abimelech - Judges 9:54
after having his skull crushed under a millstone that was dropped by a woman from the Tower of Shechem, Abimelech called for his armor bearer to kill him with a sword. He did not want it said that a woman had killed him. Samson - Judges 16:29-31
by collapsing a building, Samson sacrificed his own life, but in the process destroyed thousands of enemy Philistines. Saul and His Armor Bearer - 1 Samuel 31:3-6
After losing his sons and all of his troops in battle, and his sanity long before, King Saul, assisted by his armor bearer, ended his life. Then Saul's servant killed himself. Ahithophel - 2 Samuel 17:23
Disgraced and rejected by Absolom, Ahithophel went home, put his affairs in order, and then hung himself. Zimri - 1 Kings 16:18
Rather than being taken prisoner, Zimri set the king's palace on fire and died in the flames. Judas - Matthew 27:5
After he betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot was overcome with remorse and hung himself. In each of these instances, except that of Samson, suicide is not presented favorably. These were ungodly men acting in desperation and disgrace. Samson's case was different. And while his life was not a model for holy living, Samson was honored among the faithful heroes of Hebrews 11. Some consider Samson's final act an example of martyrdom, a sacrificial death that allowed him to fulfill his God-assigned mission. Does God Forgive Suicide?
There's no doubt that suicide is a terrible tragedy. For a Christian it is an even greater tragedy because it is a waste of a life that God intended to use in a glorious way. It would be difficult to argue that suicide is not a sin, for it is the taking of a human life, or to put it bluntly, murder. The Bible clearly expresses the sanctity of human life (Exodus 20:13). God is the author of life, thus, the giving and taking of life ought to remain in his hands (Job 1:21). In Deuteronomy 30:9-20, you can hear the heart of God crying out for his people to choose life: "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life..." (NLT) So, can a sin as grave as suicide destroy one's salvation?
The Bible tells us that at the moment of salvation a believer's sins are forgiven (John 3:16; 10:28). When we become a child of God, all of our sins, even those committed after salvation, are no longer held against us. Ephesians 2:8 says, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God." (NLT) So, we are saved by God's grace, not by our own good deeds. In the same way that our good works don't save us, our bad ones, or sins, cannot keep us from salvation. Paul made it plain in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from God's love: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT) There is only one sin that can separate us from God and send a person to hell. In this article, "What is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?," I explain that the only unforgivable sin is refusing to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Anyone who turns to Jesus for forgiveness is made righteous by his blood (Romans 5:9) which covers our sin—past, present and future. God's Perspective on Suicide
A few years ago, I attended the funeral of a Christian man who had committed suicide. The experience gave me a new perspective on the issue of Christians and suicide. The man who had killed himself was the son of one our church staff members. In the short time he had been a believer, he touched many lives for Jesus Christ. His funeral was one of the most moving memorials I had ever attended. With more than 500 mourners gathered, for nearly two hours, person after person testified of how this man had been used by God. He had pointed countless lives to faith in Christ and shown them the way to the Father's love. I left the service convinced that what had driven him to commit suicide had been his inability to shake his addiction to drugs and the failure he felt as a husband, father, and son. Although it was a sad and tragic ending, nevertheless, his life testified undeniably of Christ's redemptive power in an amazing way. I do not believe this man went to hell. His funeral made me realize that no one can truly understand the depth of someone else's suffering, or the reasons that could drive a soul to such desperation. Only God knows what is in a person's heart (Psalm 139:1-2). Only he knows the extent of pain which might bring a person to the point of suicide. In conclusion, it bears repeating—suicide is a terrible tragedy, but it does not negate the Lord's act of redemption. Our salvation rests securely in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. So then, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13, NIV)
World Health Organization (WHO)
East African Standard Newspaper
Capital News Nairobi
Khasakhala L.I. , Ndetei D.M. , Mathai M. , Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi.