Earlier this year, in January, a young man (26) was rushed to the emergency unit of the hospital I worked in. Apparently, he attempted suicide by ingesting 2 bottles and half of sniper (an insecticide) but was found by a family
member that quickly alerted everyone and soon he was rushed to the hospital. It was a state of pandemonium in the emergency ward as the medical staff were running in and out of there, trying their best to resuscitate him. Some patients and non-medical staff also tried to take a peek to see who this young fellow is that decided to take his life and of course, people had a lot of things to talk about.
A suicide attempt is an attempt where a person tries to die by suicide but survives.
Did you know that for every suicide, there is an estimated 25 suicide attempts?
Last month, I put up a few questions regarding suicide attempt on my IG story and my WhatsApp status and I got a total of 9 responses.
These questions were inspired by the event that took place that very day in the hospital.
I remember feeling very sorry for the guy. I wondered what finally made him attempt suicide. I just kept asking myself questions. Some of us have contemplated suicide and we know what made us think about it but still, seeing him lie there, I had questions.
I sat at the phlebotomy room (blood collection) and I saw a family member of the young man talking to a staff (also works in the lab) in the hospital. Let’s refer to this family member as Jane, the young man that attempted suicide as Mark and the staff as Mary. Jane opened up to Mary about things that had been going on at home with Mark. She started by expressing her shock as to why Mark would attempt suicide.
According to her, she didn’t understand why he would try to kill himself. ‘What was he thinking? What could have pushed him to do this? What can a young boy be thinking about at that age to have attempted suicide?’ she said. Mary tried to explain and give reasons why that could happen, she spoke about depression, peer pressure and so on.
Jane mentioned that Mark was a loner and he didn’t have friends. She said that he was weird and was troublesome, always looking for attention. One time, Mark told them that he was going to kill himself but they thought it was one of his attention-seeking ways until he almost went through with it by attempting suicide. Apparently, before he attempted suicide, he sent a goodbye text to the whole family and they didn’t take it seriously until he was found.
Read also: Avoidance Behaviour
As I sat there, I wanted to say something but I felt I would be intruding, after all, no one asked me any question. I wondered why she’d say she didn’t know why he attempted suicide because from all I heard so far, that young man displayed all the signs necessary. Still on it, Jane lamented on how much Mark had caused them with the attempted suicide. She spoke about the money and how he has brought everyone into it. My heart cried for this guy because I knew that if the doctors manage to resuscitate him, he would have to deal with the judgment of his family members and he’d probably regret being alive (I know I would).
Let me not even mention some of the comments some staff made about the attempted suicide. All I can say is they were mostly ignorant and it did surprise me.
Did you know that men have 4 times higher suicide completion rate than women even though women attempt suicide 2 to 3 times as often as men?
The aim of the questions asked were to see if people really knew about suicide and what could cause one to die by suicide. I also wanted to know how people would respond to a loved one that attempted suicide.
Disclaimer: All responders were anonymous except for responder 7, 8 and 9. This is because they answered from my IG story. The first 6 responders were from WhatsApp and I used Google forms for anonymity
- What do you think causes people to die by suicide or attempt suicide?
Response 1: ‘Being unhappy with their life and believing that there’s no way out of their situation. Also, mental health issues.’
Response 2: ‘Depression’
Response 3: ‘Low self-esteem, being looked down upon, regret, fear and some related factors’
Response 4: ‘Worldly sorrow. When they are overwhelmed by their inadequacies and not meeting up with what they think is expected’
Response 5: ‘Pain, agony, rejection’
Response 6: ‘Anxiety’
Response 7: ‘Depression, a feeling of inadequacy and feeling lost and unloved’
Response 8: ‘Depression. From anything tbh. It might sound flimsy to one person and not the other’
Response 9: ‘Sense of loneliness’
- What age is too young for one to kill themself or attempt suicide?
Response 1: ’30. Anything under this age can be undone and rectified. Really, there’s no good age to commit suicide because there’s nothing that can be resolved’
Response 2: ‘I don’t know… No age is okay to commit suicide’
Response 3: ‘Any age is too young, because there’s still a chance to right every wrong so long as there’s life’
Response 4: ‘Nobody should commit suicide’
Response 5: ’12-18’
Response 6: ’17 to 19 that is when they are easily pushed emotionally’
Response 7: ‘No age. I was less than 15 when I wanted to commit suicide’
Response 8: ‘No age. My friend told me his 10 year old nephew told his friends he wants to commit suicide’
- How would you feel if a loved one attempted suicide?
Response 1: ‘I would be heartbroken’
Response 2: ‘Devastated’
Response 3: ‘I would feel guilty for not paying more attention that I did’
Response 4: ‘Devastated’
Response 5: ‘Sad’
Response 6: ‘Very sad’
Response 7: ‘Well, most times people are in shock because they never thought you were sad’
Response 8: ‘Honestly, I don’t know’
- How would you respond to a loved one that attempted suicide?
Response 1: ‘I would respond with love and recommend that they seek help. I will be checking in on the person regularly as well’
Response 2: ‘Shower them with love and support’
Response 3: ‘I’d do all I could to share their burden and still give them some space’
Response 4: ‘Shower them with love, help them see that there’s more to life and to live for but most especially, I’ll pray for and with them and help them find hope again’
Response 5: ‘Giving them hope, encourage them to trust God again’
Response 6: ‘I will care for them, comfort them and always attend to them when they need me’
Response 8: ‘I’ll find a way to seek help for them
From the responses, it is safe to say that the people that responded are educated about suicide and are sensitive to those that attempt suicide. However, I’ve come to realize that what we sometimes plan or intend to do isn’t what we do when the situation is presented.
I wish I had asked people other than my contacts and IG so as to get variation of answers. For the next ViewPoint, I’ll extend the questions outside my circle, maybe on the streets. Who knows?