Education stake holders in Kenya have expressed concern about the traumatizing high cases of suicide among Kenyan youths especially university students. Suicide is the process of taking one’s own life. It is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations. Statistics indicate that there are over twenty documented cases of university students who have recently committed suicide. Even if the percentage of those committing suicide is negligible when compared to the entire student population, every life matters .Thus, these are tell-tale signs that things are not well. There is more than it meets the eye and every sane Kenyan can surely join me in taking up arms against this imminent threat to our children. The question is ‘why should a young, mentally endowed guy with an obviously bright future take his life?’
Here are the symptoms, causes and prevention of suicidal tendencies among the youth.
SUICIDE WARNING SIGN POSTS
A person experiencing suicidal thoughts may show the following signs or symptoms
Feeling or appearing oppressed, disillusioned and hopeless
Increased unexplained isolation-withdrawal from social contact and wanting to be left alone
Getting their affairs in order or giving away their belongings to friends and relatives in preparation for their death
Unpredictable and unexplained mood swings for example being very happy one day but very sad and withdrawn the next day
Constantly talking about revenge, guilt, blame or shame
Constantly talking about death/suicide or regret about being alive. This involves statements such as ‘I will kill myself”
Changes in sleeping patterns such as insomnia-lack of sleep
Constantly holding dangerous weapons such as a gun and a knife or drugs that could terminate life
Talking about being a burden to others
Feeling agitated such as pacing around a room, or wringing one’s hands
Increased use of alcohol
CAUSES OF SUICIDE AMONG KENYAN YOUTH
Disillusionment- most Kenyan youths are feeling hopeless. They have nothing to live for or look forward to. This lack of enthusiasm can easily drive them to death if no intervention measures are provided
An attempted suicide- a person who has attempted suicide before is more likely to do it again.
Stressful life experiences- these may include loss of a loved one, a job, a break up, financial or legal problems
A history of substance abuse- a person who abuses drugs and/or alcohol is likely to act on impulse due to blurred thoughts and wrong judgement of a situation
Access to fire arms such as guns and pistols or piled pills that could cause death increases the chances of committing suicide especially when one has suicidal tendencies
Underlying psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression and post -traumatic stress disorder can easily trigger suicide.
A sexual abuse (rape).-a person who has been raped is vulnerable to suicide especially if s/he fails to get enough care and emotional support
Terminal illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS-a person who is constantly undergoing treatment
SUICIDE-PREVENTION/ INTERVENTION MEASURES
Reach out to your close friend or relative whom you can trust with your feelings. Share them no matter how hard it may seem to be
Get in touch with your spiritual leader for moral support. This could be a priest, a catechist or pastor.
Call a suicide hot line. These ho lines are common in the US and they may prove helpful.
Visit a professional counsellor or book an appointment with one for social and emotional support. This greatly helps
Call 911- an emergency police hot line for help.