A youthful life lost, within the blink of an eye.

Kola was a promising young lad who had just gained admission into the university to study economics. He appeared eager to get into school at that time, after all he had been at home for two years due to the problems he encountered with JAMB.

During the 2 year period Kola became less interactive at home, he was noticed to keep to himself and stopped visiting the neighbour’s house to watch his favourite team play (because in his friend’s house there is usually full subscription to DSTV, while his own house his single mother of 3 could not afford the full bouquet).

Kola who had a voracious appetite was noticed to eat less and sleep less. Most times he was deep in thought and lost to his surroundings. He had mentioned to his elder brother at one point that he was tired of being alive but his brother brushed it off as one of those ‘talks’ by young men.

Two weeks before the fateful day he had a talk with his close friend Chinedu in which he voiced his desire to end his life. This time his friend informed his mother. A typical Nigerian mother she exclaimed ‘’God forbid bad thing’’. She called her son aside and prayed for him.

The next day, she invited 3 pastors over to the house to talk to him and pray against such bad spirits, but alas he was found hanging from the ceiling in his room dead.

Life was too hard to live, he felt hopeless and helpless in the world.

In a written suicide note he apologized to his mother and two brothers for what he had done. He also apologized to the father he never got to know.

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. It is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 years and it is the second leading cause for people aged 25 to 34 years. Suicide rates have generally increased for middle aged and older adults and 1 suicide death occurs for every 4 suicide attempts. Reports show that women attempt suicide more often but men are 4 times more likely to die from a suicide attempt. Most people who consider or attempt suicide have one or more of the following:

  • Depression – This is the commonest reason people commit suicide, like in the case of Kola above. Severe depression is followed by a pervasive sense of suffering and a belief that escape from it is hopeless. So the pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear.
  • Other mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia, BAD, leading to auditory hallucinations in which a person may hear voices telling him/herself to self-destruct.
  • Use of drugs and alcohol can lead to impulsive behaviours.
  • Crying out for help and not knowing how else to get it. They may not have intended to die but things may go horribly wrong.

Once someone talks about suicide or about wanting to die or disappear even in a joking manner, such conversation must be taken seriously. Any suicide attempt must be taken seriously even if the person was not harmed. It is also important that people with depression or substance abuse problems seek help because these conditions can be treated.

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