Every year almost 800,000 people take their own life around the globe, reports World Health Organization. The horrendous tragedy of committing suicide leaves deleterious impacts on the minds and lives of the people left behind. WHO has placed suicide among the leading causes of death globally, and second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-old. Suicide is a serious issue and can be related to physical, psychological and social factors that play a significant role in giving rise to suicidal thoughts.
Suicide can be linked to mental disorders, while many suicides happen in moments of crisis with a despondency to not be able to deal with life stresses. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, depression is present in about half of all suicides. Depression takes long time to get hold of one’s psychological and emotional capabilities but it takes a sudden rush of intense emotions to put a permanent end to depression and to make the decision to end one’s own life. Other important factors behind suicide include, traumatic stress, complete hopelessness, belief your life is a burden to others, and social isolation. We may never have an idea as to why a person committed suicide. While it may appear that a person had everything in his/her life to live for, yet it properly didn’t feel that way to him/her.
A prominent 19th century French Sociologist, Emile Durkheim, published a case study of suicide in the form of a book named Le Suicide (Suicide). He compared people of different social backgrounds and religions, and formulated his results. Suicide rate was found to be higher among Protestants than Catholics and Jews. Based on this study, a research was carried out in 2008 to fathom the impact of religiosity on suicidality.
The act of suicide is condemned in most religions. Research established that degree of religiosity is directly related to degree of suicidality. Several mechanisms have been attributed to the protective role of religion, including a decrease of aggression and hostility and an increase in reasons for living.
Christianity and suicide
There are 2.1 billion Christians worldwide. Among the dominant Christian denominations (Catholics, Baptists and other Protestants), the lowest suicide rates are found among Catholics and evangelical Baptists, with higher incidence occurring among other Protestant faith. Researchers indicate that Catholics and Baptists are more likely to be actively involved in church activities and, therefore, may benefit more from expanded social support networks. Furthermore, Catholic countries have lower suicide rates than Protestant ones and within Protestant countries areas with a preponderance of Catholics have lower suicide rates.
Hinduism and suicide
There are an estimated 900,000 million Hindus in the world, predominantly in the Indian subcontinent. Unlike Muslim or Christian writings, Hindu scriptures are relatively ambivalent on the issue of suicide. Also, Hindu philosophies of reincarnation and karma mean, that for Hindus, life does not end at death, as death leads to rebirth. Thus, it has been purported by some that Hindu religion is more tolerant toward suicide. Another survey study found a higher rate of suicide among Hindus than Muslims.
Muslims and suicide
There are lower recorded rates of suicidality found among the 1.5 billion Muslims when compared to other religions, such as Christianity or Hinduism.
Judaism and suicide
Across the world, 14 million people identify themselves as Jewish. Several studies have reported that suicide rates are lower among Jews as compared to the general population in predominantly Protestant communities.
Hence, it is evident that the more a person sticks to religion, the less there are chances of committing suicide.
Durkheim illustrated that the more socially integrated and connected a person is, the less likely he/she is to commit suicide. Feeling of social isolation and being left-out can be waned out by spending more quality time with friends and family. Social isolation can also lead to endogenous depression which may later result in the form of suicide. It can also be dealt by interventions that focus inward and address the negative thoughts underlying loneliness.
Another way to do away with suicidal thoughts is to keep oneself busy in different activities and search for the quest of the meaning and purpose of one’s life. Viktor Frankl, in his work “Man’s search for meaning” expressed that a man’s deepest desire is to find meaning in his life, and if he can find that meaning, he can survive anything.
To encapsulate, suicide is not the solution to any problem. This is not something that is indispensable to get rid of one’s anxieties or other issues. Life is mortal and so are a human being’s problems in life. There are hundreds of ways out there to grapple with suicidal thoughts, one just needs to get out of one’s own little world of worries and look beyond the horizon and have faith in the notion that even the darkest night ends and the sun rises.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.