Preventing Suicide

Suicide generally occurs is individuals who are suffering from depression or who, for other reasons, feel a sense of hopelessness or low self esteem.  While clinical depression is often triggered by a biochemical disorder of the brain, which may be genetic in origin, it may also be induced by life events such as bullying, the experience of war, the loss of a loved one, chronic illness, economic distress or persecution by other segments of society.

In recent decades, suicide has become increasingly prevalent among soldiers, young homosexuals and the victims of bullying; in many if not most cases, other humans (or segments of society) have been directly responsible for their deaths.  In the case of soldiers, our government has asked them to serve in highly stressful environments where they engage in combat while witnessing the deaths of comrades and innocent civilians; those who survive the atrocity of battle are often left with PTSD, including guilt and depression.  Victims of bullying, whether imposed by friends, co-workers, family members or anonymous online perpetrators, are left with a shattered self esteem.  Young gays, dealing with inborn factors that have determined their sexuality, face hostility, abuse and discrimination from many segments of society, often including members of their own family.

We, as a society, can choose to mitigate the occurrence of suicide among these groups of individuals by enacting policies that minimize conflict, offer support, eliminate discrimination and protect their rights.  Unfortunately, ignorance, intolerance, militarism and religious zealotry stand in the way of progress and the scourge of suicide continues to pervade our society.