Suicide: Causes, prevention

Suicide impacts individuals, families and communities all around the world. It is a complicated phenomenon with profound psychological, societal and environmental implications. 


Understanding the causes, and knowing how to provide support, can all help to prevent suicide and give hope to individuals in crisis.

Suicide has become one of the top causes of death worldwide, particularly among young people. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 700,000 people die by suicide each year. 

Suicide has far-reaching consequences for families, friends and communities. It never occurs due to a single factor, instead, it comes from a complicated interaction of numerous variables, which include mental disorder, trauma and abuse, misuse of substances, social isolation, socioeconomic factors, etc.

Suicide prevention involves an all-inclusive approach and includes individuals, communities and organisations. Some strategies can help with suicide prevention. First, medical support must be sought for people exhibiting suicidal tendencies; counselling, or medications can be given to help.

Public awareness is important through educational programmes and sensitisation to raise the knowledge of suicide warning signals, and how to relate to those with such tendencies to lower stigma and encourage people to seek help.

Supportive networking, which includes communities, family and friends, providing emotional support for persons at risk, is critical..

Mostly, people who end up trying to commit suicide, but fail need to be observed, with follow-up care, mental health assistance and societal safety measures.

We can support persons we suspect are considering suicide by providing a non-judgmental ear to listen to them. Allow them to communicate their feelings and worries without interruption.

Be direct and bold to ask if by any chance they are thinking about suicide. If it happens to be so, talk them through it. Direct questions can provide clarity and show that you care. Ensure that they are not left alone by staying with them. If possible, remove all means of self-harm.

Seek professional help if you think you can’t do it alone. Call a mental health professional, a crisis hotline or even an emergency service. Then do a follow-up, that is, continuously checking and providing assistance to the person.

Mavis Anokye Mensah,
Faculty of Journalism and Media Studies,
E-mail: [email protected]

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