Until now, many believe suicide would never have to surface as a social issue in Nigeria. However, today not only in the West African country do we have daily cases of suicide, but also a common phenomenon across the world. It is frightening the recent level of prevalence and the demographics of which calls for serious pragmatic solutions to stem the ugly tide.
A 15-year old high school student in a Lagos suburb recently drank a solution for insecticides for the very unreasonable reason that his girlfriend left him for another boy. Terrible. The question is, does he have parents or guardians? What happened to the school counseling system? How did we ever get here for goodness sake? These questions are not far fetched.
The family system that once served as rallying point for the young ones can’t seem to provide succor and relief in times of distress. Sometimes, teen suicide occurs as a result of the social pressure on the child and the attachment of meanings to what is socially and culturally meaningful. We attach meaning to high score, punish the academically buoyant students and ostracize or punish those we regard as failures. Woe be tide.
Also, the detachment caused by a fragile family setting, a cord broken by economic and social pressures, families like a theatre of war and violence often impact on the emotional intelligence of the young through adult life. As the society becomes more secular, and religion which once served as a binding force begin to lose its grip and rip off social bond, we are at risk of detachment except of course, individuals find other means of meaningful social engagements.
The impact of a group think that can successfully help the young to survive through shocks and be strong cannot be over-emphasized. Teen suicide is as a result of over-attachment and under-attachment. One possessing the ability to suck life out of us through social expectations without taking to cognizance that role expectation is not always equal to role performance. The other is the 'orphanization' of the young ones. When in times of shocks and pain, they are orphanized. Not because they are without parents or guardians, but because their emotional need is not well catered for.
These are really hard times for children growing up as weaklings. Save our children, let’s curb teen suicide today.
Header Image Credit: psycom.com