Friday, September 13, 2019

One Suicide Every 40 Seconds

Across the world, one person takes his or her own life every 40 seconds, and in fact, more people die by suicide every year than in war. That is according to the World Health Organization. 

It seems that hanging, poisoning and shooting are the most common suicide methods and the WHO are urging governments to adopt suicide prevention plans to help their citizens cope with stress and to reduce access to suicide means. 

Here, I would like to stress that stress is good for you. It keeps you alert, motivated and primed to counter danger. As anyone who has faced a work deadline or competed in a sport knows, stress mobilizes the body to respond, improving performance. 

Be aware, however, of the stress-depression connection. 

Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the "stress hormone," and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions. 

When the stress response fails to shut off and reset after a difficult situation has passed, it can lead to depression in susceptible people. 

And so, a stress overload, or chronic stress may lead to major depression in susceptible people. 

"Stress, or being stressed out, leads to behaviors and patterns that in turn can lead to a chronic stress burden and increase the risk of major depression", maintains Bruce McEwen (left), PhD, author of The End of Stress as We Know It

Interestingly, many of the changes in the brain during an episode of depression resemble the effects of severe, prolonged, stress. 

The WHO report highlighted on Monday that suicide is a global public health issue. 

All ages, sexes and regions of the world are affected (and) each loss is one too many! Suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29, after road injury, and among teenage girls aged 15 to 19 it was the second biggest killer after maternal conditions. In teenage boys, suicide ranked third behind road injury and interpersonal violence. 

"Suicides are preventable," said the WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right). "We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programmes". 

Sadly, such advice is not taken seriously. More so in Malaysia. 

Instead of focusing on mental health and well-being, we have a first-class idiot (left) who chooses to put emphasis on black shoes, khat and other frivolous matters. And he is our Education Minister. 

As recently as August 24, a 13-year-old student was found hanged in a bathroom at a house in Taman Sri Relau, Paya Terubong, a suburb of Georgetown in Penang. 

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang had reportedly said: “It is learnt that the teenager’s school teachers had previously contacted his parents as he did not complete his homework. The teenager was also found to have little interest in studying with weak academic achievements, and complained of having too much homework”. 

ACP Zaimani said on the night of the incident, the teenager’s mother had told him to complete his homework before leaving the house. 

And on July 08, 2019, a 15-year-old student in Beaufort in Sabah was similarly found hanged in his bedroom, hours after a scolding from his sister for skipping school. 

The town’s police chief Azmir Abdul Razak said the boy’s body was found hanging from the ceiling of his bedroom. 

And these are the cases reported by the local press. I’m sure there are many suicides that go unreported.

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