I’D RATHER BE DEAD
By: Nomvula Ndlovu
Suicide is the act of killing oneself intentionally; a tragic reaction to stressful life situations and it affects society tremendously.
It is mostly prevalent in late teenagers and adults that are going through life changing events. However, suicide has become a trend throughout childhood between the ages six and 12.
Research done by the National Institution of Health in the United States stated that the sexually active ratio in 6 to 12-year-olds attempting suicide is higher than the ratio in adolescents attempting suicides. The latest mean worldwide annual rates of suicide per 100 000 were 0.5 for females and 0.9 for males among 5 to 14-year-olds, and 12.0 for females and 14.2 for males among 15 to 24-year-olds, respectively.
Children commit suicide due to minor factors to which parents pay no attention to. Durban University of Technology student councillor Anozile Masongo said, “Young people can have mental, emotional, and behavioural problems that are real, painful, and costly. These problems, often called “disorders,” are sources of stress for children and their families, schools, and communities”. She added that these factors could lead to child suicide.
An alternative view can be found from the religious right. Pastor John Mitchel from His Bible Church differs from Anozile’s views saying, “Satan has taken over the world and he will use children as his soldiers because they are not able to think for themselves. Child suicide is nothing but satanic. People must not confuse satanic acts with science or psychology.”
According to Education.com suicide in children is on the rise. In a 20-year period between 1970 and 1990, suicide rates tripled among children aged 5-14 years. Suicide rates among this group are relatively low, accounting for about 1% of all succesful suicides. Nevertheless, although children kill themselves at lower rates than the rest of the population, suicide is the third leading killer among children aged 10-14 years (behind accidents and cancer).
In a report by the World Health Organisation, parents were advised to talk to their children about suicide and depression. Most suicides occur due to some form of mental and physical condition, such as depression, being bullied at school and abused at home emotionally and physically.
A 13-year-old girl recently committed suicide in the UK after being bullied at school for being tall. Morgan Musson was said to be tormented by fellow pupils over a period of seven months. She swallaiowed several tablets of a powerful painkiller and went to bed. Her mother found her dead when she tried to wake her up the next morning. This shows how a minor incident such as bullying can be of great harm.
Very little is known about childhood suicide. It was believed that children never committed suicide because early childhood is pictured as a time of happiness and carefree living. However, recent events have shown that child suicide is growing and it has to be dealt with and managed before it is too late.