The Proliferation of Weapons in Yemen Increases the Suicide Rate
Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Alia Muhammed
Suicide is a social phenomenon with serious psychological consequences and is a tragic result of life’s pressures. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally in 2019.” In its report issued in 2021, the WHO indicated, “700 000 people every year take their own life, and there are many more people who attempt suicide. In addition, over 77% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries.”
Methods of Suicide
Mona Najeeb, a psychologist, believes that many suicides occur as a result of a specific psychological crisis. The person who commits suicide suffers a mental breakdown that prevents him from being able to think and deal with the pressures of life, and he then enters into a severe depression that pushes him to end his life.
“Psychological disorder, poor social conditions, family disintegration, and drug addiction are the most prominent factors that strengthen suicidal tendencies. The chances of suicide increase when it is easy to obtain the means by which the person will end his life,” she added.
There are multiple methods to commit suicide, including self-poisoning with pesticide, hanging, jumping from high places, cutting veins, or shooting with firearms. The most prevalent methods in Yemeni society are self-poisoning, hanging, and shooting. Families that have weapons at home have higher rates of suicide than those who do not have them. According to the WHO, around 20% of global suicides are due to pesticide self-poisoning followed by other methods.
Aisha Mohammad, a social worker, explained that suicidal tendencies increase as the complexities and pressures of life heighten. In light of the current conditions in the country and the increase in unemployment and poverty rates, the suicide rate in society is rising. Among those who are prone to suicide are those who decide to end their own lives only, and those who decide to kill their families – believing that they are saving them from their miserable reality – and then commit suicide. The latter act is known as murder-suicide. It occurs as a result of a number of family conflicts, financial problems, or mental health disorders, with the availability of and accessibility to suicide means.
She added, “The means of suicide vary. For instance, we find as Yemen is a heavily armed country, suicide by gunfire is the most common methods of suicide in Yemeni society. Hanging is the second method of suicide prevalent in Yemeni society, particularly rural areas, followed by excessive drug doses.”
According to the 2020 WHO report on violence and health, women who commit suicide use less violent methods, such as drug overdoses, than men who more often use violent methods such as hanging, vein cutting, and guns.
Contagion of Suicidal Behavior
Mohammad, a psychiatrist, reports that a significant number of adolescents resort to suicide as a result of being exposed to violent movies or electronic games. The media in general and social media in particular have played a huge role in this aspect.
He added, “our children watch scenes of aggression and violence on computers and phones. For example, there are many scenes that glorify suicide and provide a detailed depiction of how to commit it through different methods. Using technology without parental controls leaves no room for immediate treatment of the phenomenon, which increases the suicide rate among the public.”
Suicide Prevention Strategies
Mona Najeeb said that knowing the methods and means to committing suicide plays a major role in developing prevention strategies.
She added, “we must take a number of measures to limit the spread of the phenomenon, including preventing people who are under various pressures from accessing means of suicide, such as pesticides, firearms, and some drugs, and by spreading awareness of the psychological and health effects of suicide through mainstream media and social media platforms.”
Moreover, Aisha Mohammed pointed out the importance of knowing the warning signs of a person who is about to commit suicide and identifying their suicidal behavior in order to assess their psychological and health status. Young people should also be taught new and different skills, kept away from the influence of the Internet and social media, and engaged in scientific and recreational activities. She also stressed the importance of intensified efforts and family cooperation with the school to create a suitable and safe environment for our children, far from the constant pressures of life.
Suicidal tendencies are temporary as long as there is a will to live and a desire to be treated for any disorder or psychological problem. However, suicide prevention requires self-control and community solidarity.
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