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“Anyone desperate enough for suicide should be desperate enough to go to

creative extremes to solve problems; do what they always wanted to do but were
afraid to try.” – Richard Bach. Suicide is not an issue that can be ignored. It is the
third leading cause of death among the youths of today. Just like other major
social issues, this can also be prevented. Suicide is defined as the act or an
instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally. Some persons look
at suicide as an act of murder as well. Teenage suicide is a worldwide epidemic. It
affects everyone in society, whether it is directly or indirectly. Suicide is not only
about the loss of a life of one individual, it is also a tragedy for relatives and
friends who are left to grieve. It also causes a decrease in our country’s
population which is already small and this can lead to a loss to future growth and

In the year 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Guyana as the
country with the second highest suicide count in the world. 40% of the suicide
cases were due to the mass suicide of over 900 members of Jim Jones' Peoples
Temple in 1978, although some consider the event as a mass murder. Guyana was
recognized in 2015 for an increase in teenage suicide. There are many reasons
that can explain the shockingly high rate of suicides in Guyana, but health workers
have pointed to the deep poverty in the rural areas, the prevalence of alcohol and
drug abuse, rejection in a love affair, family pressures to marry young, arranged
marriages and culture, among others. Studies show that the onset of mental
health-related issues including sadness, hopelessness, despair, low self-esteem,
and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety could lead to alcohol and
substance abuse, and/or ultimately suicide. But every problem, no matter how
unsolvable it may seem, has a solution.

Many common causes include major psychiatric illness - in particular, mood

disorders (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), substance abuse
(primarily alcohol abuse), family history of suicide, long term difficulties with
relationships with friends and family and/or losing hope or the will to live. Also
significant losses in a person's life, such as the death of a loved one, loss of an
important relationship, loss of employment or self-esteem and an unbearable
emotional or physical pain. Depression is noticed as one of the leading causes.
Depression can have severe consequences if left untreated. It can lead to suicidal
thoughts and eventually the attempt of taking one’s own life. Sometimes it is hard
to tell if someone is suffering from depression. Most times, depression will go
untreated because the person does not think that there is anything seriously
wrong with them. Among most high school and college students, depression is
the leading cause for suicide.

A person who is at risk of committing suicide usually shows signs, whether

consciously or unconsciously, that something is wrong. Some warning signs
maybe signs of clinical depression, a withdrawal from friends and family, the
feeling of sadness and hopelessness. They have lack of interest in previous
activities, or in what is going on around them. Some may show physical changes,
such as lack of energy, different sleep patterns, and change in weight or appetite.
They may have loss of self-esteem, negative comments about self-worth. They
may keep bringing up death or suicide in discussions or in writing. Previous
suicide attempts are a major warning sign. Though many people considering
suicide seem sad, some mask their feelings with excessive energy. Agitation,
hyperactivity, and restlessness may indicate an underlying depression that is
being concealed.

If you think that someone you know is considering suicide, raise the subject.
People are often relieved to talk to somebody about it. Recognizing their agony
helps to ease the distress of carrying the burden of pain alone. It is important to
listen to what somebody has to say without passing judgment on their feelings.
Keep in mind that having no opportunity to talk about how badly they feel will
only make a person feel more isolated. You may sometimes worry that bringing
up the subject of suicide will give ideas to an individual who is already depressed.
On the contrary, showing your concern lets a person in distress know that
somebody is listening to them. If that person really is considering taking their own
life, talking provides an outlet for intense, often overwhelming feelings.

Suicide attempts are often a cry for help. While suicidal people are still alive, they
may be holding out hope that they will find the means to cope with their
emotions. Urge anybody who is considering suicide to get the counselling and
medical or psychological support that they need as soon as possible. When
suicidal thoughts are brought on by an immediate interpersonal life event, then
reliving this event or talking with a close friend or family member may resolve the

Unfortunately, recent attempts by the government to address the issue of suicide

have been stymied by political wrangling which has taken precedent over suicidal
issues. In July of the year 2016, a bill to amend the country’s laws to decriminalize
suicide, implement a five-year National Suicide Prevention Plan and allocated
funds to treat mental health and suicidal issues as national priorities was voted
down in Parliament by the government.

However, family and friends can assist in suicide prevention among teenager by
simple communication. Teenagers often feel stressed and depressed when they
have no one to confide in. This usually leads to an emotional build up which
causes most teens to want to isolate themselves. If family and friends can show
that they can be trusted there is a chance of the teen opening up about their
emotions and problem. This can help in relieving this major epidemic the country
is facing. Adults and peers can help teens understand, suicide is a permanent
solution to a problem that is only temporary. They must be thankful for life and
whatever it has to offer be it good or bad. Suicide is not a solution.