October: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Artwork by Noell Oszvald

Artwork by Noell Oszvald

My words this time will obviously provide no treatments or solutions because I’m not qualified to do so in any way, my words are for raising this month’s cause: awareness.

Where I come from, I see how people regard suicide. I see how we regard it as a thing so remote from happening. We’re people with faith strong enough that a thought of suicide may never cross our mind – or that’s what we think at least.

I see how people meet the news of a man taking his life due to financial trouble and a girl strangling herself in her room because she couldn’t pass a certain exam. I see how people meet such horrific news with exclamation marks and depressed faces but before all a question concerned with – and only with – what happened to these people’s faith and I think of it and realize that even faith can be tested.

According to international suicide statistics over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year. The global suicide rate is 16 per 100,000 people. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. Suicide was even the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2012.

The idea you get is why could this happen, why all these numbers, why do we let ourselves end just as numbers in some statistics concerning international suicide rates.

The answer is there is always a reason and this is what this month is for: to tell people that there is a thing called depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. To tell people that there are things as mental disorders with whole branches of Medicine dedicated to their study and that the ones who suffer them may not know at first but they need help.

I once heard an orthodontist saying that we all need dental braces but according to relativity rules such need differs from one person to another, one may need them so badly while another may not need them much and can lead his life with nothing but just very simple care for his teeth. I kept thinking – and this is my very unprofessional point of view – what if all of us as well need a psychiatrist’s help in our lives.

However, again according to relativity, some people would need that help along with medical intervention that might include medications or more while others might only need a friend, a friend who can listen to them and be their shoulder to cry on.

The thing about suicide and about raising awareness on how to prevent it, is about telling the ones who think about committing it that whatever they’re going through isn’t the end of their lives and that this is not the proper way to end one’s misery, it’s just the only way they see.

It’s hard in most cases; because some of them think that just because they can’t see any good over the horizon then there’ll never be, you tell them “you still have time on earth why choose to end it yourself,” and they tell you what is the point of having all the time in the world but spend it miserably.

It’s hard in most cases because you can only imagine how much it hurts that thing that aches a man so bad he can only think of death as salvage. Here come our roles, to try and be there for others, to be the beam of light when it all seems too dark.

It must have been something terrible, I used to think, and that drives a person to take his own life. And my mind drowns in all the possible reasons and they flutter down that brain. Rape, depression, bipolar disorder, losing a beloved, wars, memories,.. and the list goes. But I grew a little and have read news and stories that I couldn’t believe at first.

People take their lives, I thought, for some stupid reasons really, stupid to me maybe, to you maybe but to them, never.

To them it’s the most legitimate reason that proves there’s no point in this life. To them fear of ending up alone is enough, fear of always being this lonely is enough, losing a lover, a job is enough. To them failure to see the highest star their eyes could reach is enough. To them going through suicide bereavement that took away the person closest to their hearts is enough a reason to make follow in that person’s footsteps.

This month, this article is all about one message and that is that suicide shouldn’t be the answer to those seeking refuge from life, instead more life should be and if you can’t see that then please ask help, the moment you think it’s becoming a tragedy getting out of bed, that even the simplest doings in life are now the hardest, please seek help.

It might be hard at first but even forcing yourself to life counts, even If it’d seem like the hardest task to just smile it counts, and remember, always remember, in looking for hope there is hope so just always keep looking.

Mariem Sherif is an Egyptian medical student who believes that words can heal a wound, that in each and every one of us there is something special and that in details lies another great different life for those who notice.