Through all the hurdles that human existence basically seeks to overcome, there are certain stumbling blocks that take a toll on souls and sometimes are so amplified by individuals that they see no way out of a situation. These are the difficult moments that people go through and if they do not get timely and sufficient support, choose to end their lives.
Just this past week the world marked Suicide Prevention Day, a day set aside to raise awareness and encourage society to confront the challenge of suicide. We learn that about 3 000 people commit suicide daily around the world, with about a million dying through suicide and World Health Organisation puts it more graphically that every 40 seconds someone around the world takes their life through suicide.
Police tell us that social pressures account for many of the suicides especially among men in Zimbabwe. A higher number of men as compared to women commit suicide every year in the country and it would seem this stems from society’s expectations on the perceived role of men, that puts extra pressure on those that feel that they cannot measure up due to economic circumstances or marital challenges.
The country lost more than 500 lives to suicide last year and continues to lose more and this calls for a cultural shift on how we deal with our problems, and also socialise our children, especially boys, on how to handle difficult situations in life.
We believe it is the bottling up of issues by men that leads many of them to fail to cope with stress, withdraw and fall into a depression leading to suicide after believing that their situation is beyond help. No subject should be a taboo so that those that are confronted by issues around any subject can freely express themselves and in the process probably save a life. While social media has given us the impression of connectedness while we are apart, its use sometimes gives a clue about the state of mind of whoever is using it.
Some individuals open up on social media, and in the process get support or a rebuke from followers. For some, social media can serve as a mask, wherein they hide their emotions and keep up a pretence by posting things that people would expect, when they would be dying inside.
With such people, their suicides come as a shock to many. Let us be our brothers’ keeper, by always being on hand to listen to a friend, to check on a fellow worker, fellow congregant and even neighbour.
We live in trying times where we grapple with lockdown, disease, drugs, violence, poverty and many other pressures. However, the more connected we are as families, friends and communities, the better placed we are to handle situations that could ultimately lead to suicide.