Every 40 seconds, a soul is lost from suicide globally. About 800,000 people commit suicide daily worldwide. Most worrisome is the fact that a chunk of these numbers is made up of young men and women. What may be the cause? What triggers this?
These victims suffer a variety of mental health-related conditions as a result of the exposure to different situations. Anxiety, PTSDs, heartbreaks, and many more of these illnesses affect their well-being and productivity. It is, however, worthy to note that these constituted 40% of the causes of suicide among the youth. What then is the majority contributor claiming the remaining 60%?
Suicide has shuttered the dreams, potentials, and ambitions of millions of young people across the continent. Consequently, it continues to rob the rich African continent of its vibrant and young leaders.
On the 24th of February, 2017, the story of Adowa Antwi (a student of the University of Ghana) was terminated. In her departure was a handwritten note dedicated to her mum and dad which read “I‟m sorry to disappoint you mummy and daddy”, after she was found dead in her hostel room.
In March of the same year, Jennifer Nyarko (also a student of the University of Ghana) jumped from the fourth floor of Akuafo Hall Annex A, room 407 after feeling moody all day. She was found dead by security personnel of the university the following day.
Till today, there are several African youths with suicide tendencies walking on the breadth and length of the earth clouded with the erroneous thought of taking their own lives with the least opportunity.
To unpack the conversation, most attribute the causes of suicide among the youth to extravagant lifestyles and insecure relationships (dating & courting). Others think it is merely the output of pressure. To add to this, thorough research finds support to the fact that, globally, there has been an increase in suicide among the youth since the introduction of smartphones and the emergence of social media.
Nevertheless, the above indicators are partially true and cannot be proved to be false entirely. It may not be fair to refute them. But, have we taken time to find out what the root cause of these problems maybe? Surprisingly, a lot of people think as young adults (mostly dependent on parents), the youth have no cause to suffer from depression or mental related problems. Such a school of thought is unfortunate irrespective of the categorization of persons who make the advances, whether adults, young adults, or teenagers. It‟s high time we craved for the bigger picture than settle for anything less.
The dependency on the very small picture is the reason why we are at where we are as a country in tackling incidences of suicide among the youth. What is this shallow perspective?
Do these Holy Books further allow parents to mount unnecessary pressure on their wards to obey whatever they say even if it’s beyond their strength and capabilities?
As if this was not enough, parents and society mount unnecessary pressure on the youth just for these young adults to live up to their standards and expectation. In a typical middle-class home, one would be expected to go through the normal schooling system with high expectations of best grades; anything below the “required standards” equals failure to parents and irresponsibility to society.
Therefore, the youth in the urban and rural cities in Ghana and Africa suffer a lot from depression with parents or guardians being the main cause of it. Most live up to the standards and expectations of their parents. Sadly, this is what we have on the table but that should not be so.
To sum up, a keen interest should be given to calibrating the sort of pressure most young adults endure from their parents and society in the quest to meet the standards set by them. Standards and timelines should be enrolled to guide the youth in their activities. Failing them to meet the timelines should not be synonymous with crucifixion or total failure. Everybody deserves a second chance. Parents should also not set high standards or expect the extraordinary from their wards. All fingers are not equal. Child A is different from Child B. Set timelines and capabilities based on the strength, capability, and interest of your ward. Young adults should also be allowed to come up with creative ideas of theirs but not to rely on their parents only. If this is done we can be confident of the holistic development of the individual.
In brief, let’s all strive to eliminate suicide among the youth in Africa. The total development of the Africa continent depends on these young adults. The youth is the future of Africa. Thank you!