Suicide – The Common Killer

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 05-07-2017

Suicide has become a common killer today. Reports suggest that nearly 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year. And
those who attempt to commit suicide number anywhere from 10 million to 20 million annually. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 10-24 years of age. Suicide is the process of purposely ending one’s own life. In some societies suicide attempt is considered a crime. However, in most cultures and religious traditions, killing oneself is considered negative, immoral and
even sinful. It also brings far reaching repercussions and untold grief, guilt and shame to the immediate family and friends of the one who killed himself/herself.

People today develop suicidal tendency, as they identify themselves with a materialistic society where success is measured in terms of recognition, wealth and power. When these are threatened or denied, they lose meaning for life. Real or imagined losses can trigger suicidal thoughts, especially among the youngsters. Break up of a relationship, loss of a friend or a family member, some mental illness, extreme disillusionment with oneself for some failure in life, monetary losses, poverty, etc., can lead a person to taking his/her life. Human mind is a delicate faculty and it does not need much to lose its balance, especially if it is not trained to be strong and happy. However, most cases of suicide are preventable by taking effective precautionary measures. Those who undergo stress and emotional struggles due to failures and losses as well as those with mental illness need strong support system. They need to have someone like a trusted friend, a parent, a sibling, a counsellor, a spiritual advisor to talk to and share their
concerns. If they show some warning symptoms, it is important to prescribe professional treatment.

The best and most effective preventive system for suicide is a happy and united family. This, of course, is not to deny the
suicide incidents among people who live with strong family ties. It is possible that even while living in an intact family, one can lose hope and meaning for life. However today there is no better system in existence than a family that shares, supports, encourages and prays together. It is in and through family that children learn the values of life, faith in God, spiritual practices and hope for life which are essential for a happy life.

God is the author of life. He alone has the right to take life away in the manner and time he decides. Through belief in God we
understand that life is precious and it is worth living.

Suicide is an act of self centeredness. Taking away one’s life is in a way running away from others and showing disregard for their
feelings and needs. Conversely, to be other-centred, to be sensitive and helpful to others and to be involved in the affairs and problems of the society are sure insulations against suicidal tendencies.

A person with good habits such as wholesome reading, sports and personal prayer are less likely to harbour suicidal thoughts ever in life. “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be
greater than our suffering.” Ben Okri, Nigerian Writer.

About The Author

Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP

Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP is a Catholic priest of the Society of St Paul. He has been engaged in media activities for several years as General Editor of ST PAULS Mumbai. He believes in God's gift of beauty and goodness in every human being, in nature and in every religious tradition, and shares his views and opinions with others.