The case of suicide
Suicide attempt has become rampant among teenagers. It has become one of the leading causes of death in the recent past. Some of the reasons as to why they are thinking about and attempting suicide includes; depression, lack of or poor communication with their parents and peers. History on suicide in their families and among some leaders also influences high school age people towards suicide since they tend to look up to them. In addition, young people with accumulated stress and financial problems tend to be suicidal. They might try to fit in a class of people but due to their situation, pressure themselves. Racial discrimination may also lead to suicide attempts. The youth hence struggle to adapt and might end up trying to commit suicide. Majority of the people shy away from obtaining help from older people or counselors. Suicide stigma is common and thus they opt not to consult.
History behind the Problem
Historical Roots of Suicide
Suicide goes a long way back in the days. For instance, in Greece, it was considered not so wrong if a person had justification and good reasons why he or she was committing suicide. These reasons included terminal illness and other misfortunes that would befall individuals that they would not be able to tolerate (Nelson, 2010). There were philosophers from Greece who committed suicide due to illness at an old age. Epicureans and Stoics also believed in suicide due to terminal illness.
In Rome, suicide was prohibited for slaves and soldiers but not for other citizens. They did not consider life as a gift from their god. Most of their leaders were in support of suicide. Situations such as fear of dishonor and old age were among the reasons for support of suicide.
There are also suicide cases in the Bible although no adverse comments about suicidal acts are mentioned. However, there is no condemnation towards suicide is mentioned but only prohibiting of murder, that is, killing of other people. In the New Testament, the constant reminder of a better after life is inviting for people to commit suicide in search of a good life after death.
Suicide in the middle ages was considered as madness and despair. ‘Punishments’ were inflicted to the bodies of those who had committed suicide. An honorable Christian burial was not performed and bodies could be buried in places such as busy crossroads. This was for the hope that the spirits would not disturb the living.
Suicidal attitudes, however, have changed with time. In England, verdicts were brought upon people in that only insanity would be the cause of suicide according to coroners. Aristocrats believed that suicide cases were more caused by accidents than insanity. In recent days, penalties for suicide have been abandoned however assisting someone commit suicide is a crime in the United Kingdom to this day.
There are also suicide cases in the Bible although no adverse comments about suicidal acts are mentioned. However, there is no condemnation towards suicide mentioned but only prohibition on murder that is, killing of other people. In the New Testament, the constant reminder of a better after life is inviting for people to commit suicide in search of a good life after death.
Influence of Historical Roots on Suicide among High School Age People
Fear of Dishonor
In consideration to the history and historical views on suicide, it can relate this to the current suicide trend among young people. Majority of the youth face challenges such as social discrimination due to the need to fit in a certain class. High school going teenagers are easily influenced. If he or she does not have certain qualities, tend to feel left out. Financial status can be a major setback. They might suffer isolation which later develops to depression and thereafter suicide.
Racial discrimination from fellows can lead to suicide attempts. If the person is not comfortable in their own skin thy might end up low self-esteem. Due to the fear of dishonor from other students, the affected might end up committing suicide. Knowledge from the past that suicide is better than dishonor might be a motivation to suicide attempts.
Devaluation of Life
In Rome, they did not consider life as a gift from their god. This can influence high school age people in that; they might lack value for their life. These young people might feel that life is not as important. Considering they might have knowledge about historical view of life by people, they may get suicidal.
Most people in the past encouraged suicide if the reason behind the motive was justifiable. High school aged people might be easily shaken by little misfortunes in their life. Financial crisis in families might make them feel left out by their peers. They might consider suicide as their way out as it was encouraged in the past.
In the past, most people and leaders encouraged suicide among people with terminal illnesses. There are even philosophers who committed suicide. Young people going through such might take a turn of suicide as they will also view it as a way to escape the illness.
Historical views on suicide may at a great level encourage suicide among high school age people. This is because they are well informed about the past. Others consider past leaders as role models. Seeing there were leaders who encouraged suicide, young people might use them as an excuse for suicide.
Stigma of Suicide
Stigmatization of suicide also goes a long way in the past. Although some people such as Greeks encouraged suicide, some discouraged it in slaves and soldiers. They viewed suicide as upsetting gods and weakening their economy. This stigmatized suicide.
Suicide is also not encouraged in the Christian values. Stigma is still high in the community up to date. People with suicidal thoughts may fear communicating to others. Talking about suicide mostly leads to discrimination (Pretty, 1994).
How Stigmatization Have Led To Students Not Seeking Help Before
High school going people might find it hard to open up to others. The high level of stigma in our communities has influenced this. They feel that opening up might label them as weak or insane. Peer stigma is high in their learning institutions. Majorities choose to remain isolated or try to fit in. Isolation and loneliness (Pretty, 1994) can lead to depression and later suicide attempts. At such a tender age, most do not trust their teachers. Therefore it’s not easy to talk to them. Most of these students are not courageous enough to even face their parents for help. Some parents are never there for their children. They are mostly at work.
With the high risks involved and lack of concern from parents, students shy away from seeking help. They also fear the reaction they get from fellow students. Fear that they might become the laugh of the school.
Community psychology sets certain values. These include adaptation as a means of livelihood that is survival and collaboration in empowering to build relationships (Nelson, 2010). However, these have not been implemented in most situations especially in helping young people. Students suffer from within and measures to empower such affected children have not been implemented. As in this case, students might not be willing to open up about suicidal thought to people. There is no one available to empower them. The set value of adaptation becomes their hideout. They are willing to adapt to the pressure they might be getting than seek help.
The community should become more vigilant. Empowerment programs for students and other youths should be available. The knowledge that there is somewhere to run to would encourage people to open up. Activities such as sports will empower them. They can engage in helpful activities in the community (Rappaport, 1987). Guidance and counseling sessions should also be interactive to students.
In conclusion, historical views on suicide have greatly contributed to the rising levels of suicide cases among young people especially high school going age. The community, that is, teachers, parents, preachers, among others, should be more viable to students. With proper communication and empowerment programs set, less cases of suicide will be reported. Students need to be more open so as to get help. Stigmatization should be discouraged in the community.
Nelson, G. (2010). Community psychology: In pursuit of liberation and well-being. Palgrave Macmillan.
Pretty, G. M., Andrewes, L., & Collett, C. (1994). Exploring adolescents’ sense of community and its relationship to loneliness. Journal of community psychology, 22(4), 346-358.
Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. American journal of community psychology, 15(2), 121-148