Suicides have now become a daily reality around us. Tragedies are happening to people around us- no longer in some newspaper report of unknown faces. Is it the indifference of our generation to the hurting people around that drives them to the brink?
“… the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it…”
Anyone who has lost a loved one will echo these words, Nehru said, while announcing Gandhi’s death. The loss of life, however unknown the person may be to society, is a colossal loss to family and friends who care about him or her. A study conducted by the department of community health at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, made the alarming finding that suicide accounts for one- half to three-quarters of all deaths in young women and a quarter of deaths in young men in southern India.
South India has been given the dubious distinction of being the suicide capital of this part of the globe. Suicides have now become a daily reality around us. Tragedies are happening to people around us- no longer in some newspaper report of unknown faces. A few years ago, a girl took her life by jumping off the roof of her school. When the incident was investigated it was found that she had actually mentioned to her friends and even to her teacher about death the very same day, but they did not take her seriously.
According to U.S. government data, 70% of people who commit suicide tell someone about their plans, or give some other type of warning sign. You may be in a position to help someone get help before they take the one step that cannot be taken back.
In a society where we spend more hours with our multi-media gadgets than with our dear ones, taking more time to be there for people may be a great step forward. It is important that you don’t try and deal with the situation on your own. The best way of helping is to refer them to someone who is equipped to offer them the help they need, while you continue to support them. They need to know you are there for them and you want them to get better.
A young husband and father took his own life leaving the wife stranded with feelings of rejection, anger and guilt. Suicide has a devastating effect on the families and friends as they are left completely bewildered and shocked by it. It is not uncommon for families to never know why it happened. Family and friends have to deal with immense grief and shock of the untimely death of a dear one coupled with feelings of hurt, confusion, guilt, anger and remorse.
All of this and the stigma that surrounds suicide can make them feel isolated and unable to deal with their grief. It is paradoxical that often the person who committed suicide thought that nobody cared and people are better off without them. I believe we must never blame an individual or family for the suicide or suicide attempt of a person. We should only stand alongside them supportively as they go through this crisis.
|“One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the gift of attention.”
– Jim Rohn
Even with all our best efforts and care we can never eliminate suicides as it is a complex issue with multiple causes. But there is a definite role for stronger caring relationships that provide a listening ear and safe haven for loved ones when they are rejected and struck down by the world outside.
|“The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials but the ones with the concern.”
– Max Lucado
While conducting a life skills workshop with teenagers, I found some of them had suicidal thoughts. They felt unloved and uncared for while their parents felt they were really showing their children how much they loved them by giving them the best education and gadgets. Life has become a rat race and thanks to FB, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. we may have time for those who are continents away but not for those beside us.
Often spouses, friends, parents and children are sitting next to each other but talking to or texting someone else on the phone. We have been created to enjoy life in all its fullness but we have demons in our cupboards that have sapped the fullness of life out and substituted it with a fake appearance of life that is devoid of love and hope. Is it the indifference of our generation to the hurting people around that drives them to the brink?
Or is it the emphasis our society puts on having the best car, brands, houses, mobiles rather than on inner personhood? Is the lack of value for life that emanates from a crumbling moral value base aggravating the situation? Is the education system and parenting patterns that is pushing us to be a generation with great IQs (intellectual Quotient), low EQs (Emotional quotient) and often no SQs (Spiritual Quotient) that is to blame?
We send our children to classes for acquiring skills in math, swimming, skating and what not, but are we instrumental in them and us acquiring life skills and relationships skills that will help to hold on to life when the going gets tough? We need to look deep into our society and dig out the inner fabric of close relationships that gives hope in times of trouble.
|“When you are in the final days of your life,
what will you want?
Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame?
Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car?
Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement?
Of course not.
What will matter then will be people.
If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”
– Max Lucado