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Depression: The Gateway to Suicide

Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Fathia Al-Hamadani

There are many different psychological disorders and problems that may affect a person, and suicide may be the worst outcome of these problems as it ends the individual’s life. Moreover, depression has a significant impact on the growth of suicide cases. These two phenomena constitute one of the most significant intertwined issues related to mental health. Since mental health is considered a person’s most treasured possession, it must constantly be taken care of through constant recreational attempts and continuously staying in touch with everything that is positive and supportive of a calm and stable life.

Since it is not specific to any time or place, nor restricted to a single gender or age group, suicide is a phenomenon that transcends beyond geographical, physical or social boundaries. This is due to the fact that death is always thought to arise, directly or indirectly, from an action that the person takes, knowing that this action will result in death.

Psychologically, suicide is the act of choosing death when one has the option to choose life. It is caused by a certain rejection of reality or being under a state of extreme stress. Socially, suicide represents a state of individual escape and defeat from life towards death because a person tends to harm himself when he loses confidence in his social surrounding or when he feels that he is unable to achieve his goals or lose harmony with society and its members. Suicide is seen as a social phenomenon that violates familiar social norms.  It is an indication of a dysfunction that negatively affects the individual and pushes him to take a decision to end his life and harm himself in the most horrendous ways.

There are numerous explanations for why people commit suicide. For example, sociologists – led by Durkheim – indicated that there are various types of suicide, including altruistic suicide that the individual performs motivated by the person’s sincerity and loyalty to society. An example of this type is the Japanese practice of hara-kiri, where individuals who commit an illegal act kill themselves with the sword to please society. There is another type called selfish suicide, in which the individual tends to exaggerate self-love. There is also another type of suicide which involves social disintegration and arises from the disruption of the social system.

Psychologists – including Sigmund Freud – believe that human beings embody the people they love in an emotionally contradictory way (love and hate). For example, in times of frustration, the aggressive side of the emotional contradiction appears, and they direct it against themselves; suicide is then a shift of aggressive energy from the person who caused the frustration towards self-punishment. Thus, the person who kills himself kills the image of the person he hated or loved. Some scholars of this path have explained that there are factors that help and prepare for this, including falling into despair, and others letting them down and no longer giving them a hand in difficult circumstances such as illness or psychological crises, among other factors.

Regardless of the numerous scientific theories that interpret suicide as a psychological or social phenomenon, suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to the indicators of the World Health Organization. The indicators for the year 2008 showed that between 20-60 million people attempt to commit suicide annually, and that about one million people succeed in doing so in various parts of the world, since 3,000 deaths are recorded daily. For every suicide case, there are 20 failed suicide attempts. According to the statistics for the year 2022, 26 thousand cases of suicide are monitored in the MENA region, meaning that out of 100 thousand people who die, there are five people who committed suicide.

The age group between 45-64 years is the most vulnerable to commit suicide, and its indicators among males are higher than females; with the number of males who died due to suicide more than double that of females, i.e., 12.6 out of every 100,000 males compared to 5.4 out of every 100,000 females. Male suicide rates are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100,000), while female suicide rates are higher in middle-income countries (7.1 per 100,000). Thus, it may not be possible to identify the most prominent factors for this, and this means that it is not only related to the material aspects, but that psychological and social factors have a major role in the individual’s desire to do so. Numerous studies have shown that many people are psychologically pushed to commit suicide when losing a job position, money, or a loved one, or when exposed to an emotional crisis or to bullying, as well as other situations that result in a lot of pain and distress that cause the individual to enter a state of depression.

Depression, in its various forms and degrees, is one of the most significant psychological diagnoses associated with suicide. One study showed that depression played a role in individuals committing suicide, and that a depressed person is someone who rejects life, and that those who suffer from depression are more likely to commit suicide. In addition, about 15% of suicide cases suffered from severe depression and 80% suffered from depression in general. Moreover, 15% of suicide cases are addicts, particularly as addiction releases inhibitions substances in depressed patients and pushes them to end their lives. In the same context, it is not possible to say with certainty that every depressed person will commit suicide, because many researches show that this does not happen.  However, every person who commits suicide is most likely depressed.

What is depression? What are its symptoms? What can be done to mitigate its impact on the rate of suicides?

The reader may imagine that depression is a kind of grief that a person may experience for a day or two and may disappear hours after a heartfelt moment. However, depression is more than a passing sadness, since a person may suffer from a psychological disorder caused by many psychological, social, economic, or even political influences that are stronger than the person’s ability to bear any kind of sadness or pain. This may lead him to take a negative view of the things around him, including a pessimistic view of the future and a negative perception of oneself and the world. It also negatively affects the way the person feels, thinks and behaves as the individual may suffer from a sense of loss of life and a lack of willingness to perform any activity causing many emotional, functional and personal problems. Thus, depression is a form of death on the emotional and psychological level. In addition, about 280 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and it is estimated that it affects 3.8% of people in the world, 5.0% of whom are adults and 5.7% of those over 60 years of age. Its symptoms include a feeling of sadness and anguish accompanied by a decrease in potency, a rise in pessimism, loss of interest, apathy, a sense of failure, dissatisfaction, the desire to harm oneself, hesitation and indecisiveness, fatigue, and loss of appetite.  Its symptoms are also manifested in self-contempt, slow response, inability to make any effort, many worries, anxiety, drowning in sorrows and dark thoughts, a tendency to isolate, a sense of negligence and neglect, continuously blaming oneself for having committed unforgivable mistakes, and feeling that he suffers from physical pain that is non-existent. These symptoms are similar in many age groups that may become depressed, and these symptoms may reach a point that leads the depressed to commit suicide.

In most cases, the factors leading to depression arise from two basic factors, the first is genetic predisposition, and it is directly related to the presence of the second factor represented in the occurrence of violent psychological trauma resulting from family, emotional, functional, or social problems. The combination of these two factors contributes to high rates of grief or depression, isolation from others, and traps a person in a myriad of sad memories and makes many people who suffer from depression think of suicide.

Procedures to Prevent Suicidal Ideation

The treatments that will be presented in this article are to prevent individuals from reaching the stage of suicidal thoughts, because when individuals give themselves some kind of attention and take care of their psychological health through spiritual and psychological treatments, this will give them a lot of psychological comfort. This can be achieved by setting times for oneself, reviewing the events and reactions that have taken place, and other methods that provide quick treatments, as well as removing negative accumulations that affect the soul. In addition, engaging with others with positive energies, particularly those who help to present solutions to problems or difficulties, contributes to renewing and nourishing the human being with all that is positive, so that their ways of thinking and outlook on life are benefited from.

All of the above will leave an impact on the individual, and will be reflected in his behavior, way of thinking, and view of life, including events, individuals, concerns, and other things that disturb life. In addition, being keen to visit some psychological counseling centers will have a positive effect on dealing with the harm that befalls the individual. Therefore, we should look at it from a positive perspective because the human soul is more delicate and finer than we can imagine. Thus, we must not underestimate any solution that can positively affect our mental health.

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