Suicide: Overcoming the Vulnerability
According to the World Health Organization, suicide leaves long-lasting effect on the families of the victim left behind as well as on communities and nations at large.
The act is often linked mental or psychiatric disorders which borders around depression, anxiety or drug abuse. Also financial or relationship crisis, violence, abuse, pain or disasters have been identified as triggers.
The effect on families and communities
The families left behind by victims are the most affected. They become vulnerable and go through extreme mental and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD; cardiovascular diseases, long-term grief as a result of stigmatization, guilt and shame 1.
On the other hand, more studies have shown that suicide risk increased by 2.58 times in families with a history of completed suicide 2 . Thus, there are cases of siblings, spouses or parents of victims attempting suicide or completing the act.
Overcoming the vulnerability
Suicide is preventable. The government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, communities and families have a collective role to play in combating suicide.
Survivors of suicide victims must be reached out to as they are vulnerable to depression and suicidal behaviors.
Below are some factors that can help survivors overcome the vulnerability that comes with grieving a lost one:
1. Survivors should be identified and added to supports groups that would be managed by health personnel.
2. Survivors with mental or psychiatric disorders should be given adequate health care and support.
3. Government and non-governmental agencies should implement strict policies that will discourage substance or alcohol use.
4. Creating sensitization awareness in areas where the risk of youths committing suicide is higher.
5. Mental health and educative programs should be held to deal with the stigmatization that comes with suicide. This will also help normalize question asking by survivors or people who have suicidal type.
6. Families, communities and the nation at large must come together to offer support to survivors.
Suicide prevention is a collective responsibility, and must be spearheaded by governments and civil society throughout the world (World Health Organization, 2012: Public health action for the prevention of suicide: a framework).