Suicide has been term as aggression inside (Durkheim, 1951). Aggressive tendencies are mostly directed towards others for reasons best known to the aggressor. However, suicide no matter how horrible and terrible it will appear is inflicted on one’s self. Hence, it is seen as aggression inside.

According to Sigmund Freud in his book titled “Civilization and Discontent” he mentioned that, modern civilization plays a crucial role in increasing terribly the frustration and mental agony of people. Freud sited sex taboos, which stand in the way of satisfaction of many desires. This push many down the cliff and such people who might think about suicide, because of restrictions as stated above often see suicide as the only solution to their problems.

Anyone can commit suicide. No segment of society is immune. Nonetheless, some groups are at higher risk than others (Buda & Tsuang, 1990 and Cross & Hirschfeld, 1986). The vulnerable include the stigmatized, students who are under severe pressure to deliver, high risk decision takers and in the current set up young ladies who are given up for marriage against their will or at an early age (child marriage).

Throughout history, Psychological disorders were thought to be caused by demonic possession, and the mentally ill were candidates for chains and torture. Hence, cultural barriers which do not admit mental illness as a problem facing everyone, has no space to entertain issues like suicide. For instance, names are of great importance to the African and for that matter Ghanaians. We hold the belief that, a family member cannot be named after if the fellow died a questionable death. This belief hold serious frown on suicide which is categories among some types of deaths, such as car accidents, falling in to a well, drowning etc, as atoƆfo wuo (odd death). Therefore, some names have ceased to continue in families because; the forbearer died oddly and more seriously committed suicide.

Hence, culturally, as Ghanaians we are not friendly towards mental illness, which many even the educated still sees or considers as demonic. However, suicide threats are often a last-ditch cry for help. Therefore, help is imperative. In fact, families, which have lost their love ones’ through suicide, are more often stigmatized as being susceptible. Understanding is paramount to believing. Therefore, enabling many to get their heads around the issue of suicide will help reduce stigma both direct and indirect. Also the guilt that wrecks the already failed suicide attempt fellow will not be compounded with rejection from society.

Suicide results from extreme stress, anxiety and depression. Depressive moods and bouts of it, however, is what lead to the unfortunate act of suicide. Depression, a common Psychological disorder that causes its victims to feel worthless and hopeless is not a pleasant condition which a slipper should be stressed with rejection. More so, depressive disorder people or individuals show persistent feelings of sadness, despair, often lack energy and a loss of interest in previous sources of pleasure.

How will you feel if within a period of time you cannot enjoy your previous pleasures? Factually, depression plunges people into feelings of hopelessness, dejection and boundless guilt. This goes to educate society that, suicide is not a pleasant act or decision to take at any point in time of an individual’s life.

Issues Leading to Suicide

There is unipolar disorder when people fall victim to it they experience bouts of depression only. However, people who are faced with bipolar disorders experience both manic and depressed episodes. Being manic is showing of energy at high levels, thus acting with less care and attention. Such individuals have sudden rise in energy and very active. While the depressed drop in energy and all that are stated above. Therefore, individuals in this condition cannot be seen as having fun at all. The condition can easily elicit suicidal tendencies, hence, the little care and attention that can be extended to such persons is what is expected from society not rather persecution for prosecution as criminals. People often contemplate suicide, because, they see the world around them as indifferent and uncaring. We need to show such family members, kit and kin uttermost love and care.

Do not Criminalize Suicide, its Mental Illness

The mentally ill must be encouraged to meet a Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist for treatment. A person who has failed a suicide attempt should not be considered as a candidate for prison. Such persons need special care and attention. After all our prison lacks the necessary facilities to treat persons, who have undergone failed suicide.

In 1751 the Federal Republic of Germany decriminalized suicide. Additionally, after the French Revolution, Europe, Northern and Central America followed suite to decriminalized suicide. Similarly, India decriminalized suicide in 2014. What is holding us back as a nation to decriminalize suicide?

Mental illness is equal to any illness that you know of. Therefore, decisions about suicide which results from one’s mental state should not end up in prison. In fact we are all at risk.

Emile Durkheim in 1951 discussed social integration theory. He refers to the most forceful obstacle against committing suicide as a sense of belongingness, involvement and identity with other people. Durkheim, again, defined social facts as enduring ways of thinking, acting and feeling that are external to the individual, but have coercive power over an individual’s behaviour. From this point of view, society must try earnestly to identify the social causes of suicide. Social facts discuss integration as what result in suicide. Integration has egoistic and altruistic causes of suicide which are low and high integration respectively of an individual. Again, there is the regulation which also has anomic and fatalistic causes of suicide. In all the aforementioned causes, what bring about such characteristics is not indicated. There must be a concerted effort to deal with what bring about the causes that result or lead to suicide. When society comes to appreciate issues which lead to suicide, stigma will reduce, and possible victims would be helped to get treatment from professionals.


Social Convoy

Social convoy is a bandwagon which travels along the journey of life with close kin and kith. Some alight while others aboard along the way. Those who make up the bandwagon are: if married, the wife or husband, one’s parents or guardians and siblings, if a student, the classmate(s) who are the friends, co-tenants who you are friends with. If a person joins a community keep fit group friends can be made there, social group or philanthropic group (s) like Lion’s club or Zonta club, church societies and colleagues in the office or at the work place. The regular pub goer has the Bar Tender as the social convoy.

Those who make up the bandwagon may alight via job mobility (transfer), change of location or ultimately death. These persons who aboard the social convoy enable discussions as well as sharing of ideas, which help alleviate stress which leads to depression resulting in suicide.

Therefore, social convoy offers the opportunity for communication among a class of friends, colleagues, spouses, fiancés’ and groupings.

However, current happenings really call the bandwagon which makes up the social convoy in to question. Colleagues can be seen socializing after work. Unfortunately, they will be seen fidgeting with their phones. More often they will be on social media instead of communicating verbally to wine down from the days stress. Physical verbal communication has its effects. There are readily available answers to challenging and nagging problems, which emanate from peer advisers. It also offers the opportunity to see the energy level of a friend, relation or love one. Therefore, physical communication has an urge over and above phone conversations and social media platform, because, energy level is very important in Psychological issues.

Therefore, decriminalizing suicide and employing strategies to encourage citizens to identify and report early to a Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist is the absolute way to deal with suicide.

Show care to a friend. They need your care, someone to listen to them not your money.


By Patrick Twumasi

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