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Teenage Suicide

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Teenage Suicide

Is your child in danger?

Of the many socials ills that
society is facing, perhaps the most tragic is that of teenage suicide. A young
life brimming with potential, a life treasured by parents and family snuffed out
before its flame could burn brightly. What sight can be more horrific than of a
parent walking into their child’s bedroom only to find him hanging from the
rafters or with the bed linen soaked with blood from a slit
wrist?

The tragedy is that if the same
person had to live just a few more years and be able to look back at his
decision, then he would realise just how petty was the problem over which he
took his own life. However there is no reversal.


 

Causes: While the causes of suicide vary, it is
generally a buildup of multiple causes which pushes a person beyond sane thought
and action. Some of these include:

 

Major
Disappointment

Suffering a major disappointment such as rejection, loss of a
boyfriend or girlfriend or failure at school or in sports may trigger suicidal
tendencies in teenagers. Though some of these actions are Haraam, they are
unfortunately prevalent in the lives of many of our teenagers.

Stress
Stress, confusion, pressure and
worries about self-worth are common problems in many teenagers. Teenagers may
have to go through parental divorce, moving in with a new family, living in a
new location or going to a different school. In some cases, teenagers may be
victims of physical or sexual abuse. These unsettling matters intensify feelings
such as distress, anxiety or agitation.

Depression
Depression is another major cause
of suicide. This mental disorder can cause feelings of hopelessness and
worthlessness. Approximately 75 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from
depression, according to the Harris County Psychiatric Center at the University
of Texas.

Substance Abuse
Drug or alcohol abuse can lead to
impulsive behavior, especially if a teenager is haunted by other problems such
as a mental disorder or family difficulties. Like adults who turn to alcohol or
drugs, teenagers may believe that substance abuse will bring them relief from
their difficulties, but it only worsens the problems. Substance abuse and mental
disorders play prominent roles in a majority of suicides.
Added to this,
adolescence is generally a vulnerable time in a person’s life. No matter how
small or big their problems, their troubles may feel to be unbearable or
overwhelming. Couple this with a lack of parental support and we have a recipe
for terrible disaster. According to a study, more than 90% of teenagers who
attempted suicide said that little or no parental care and understanding led
them to take this extreme step.

Suicide warning signs

§ Talking or joking
about committing suicide


 

§ Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could
disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out.”


 

§ Speaking
positively about death or romanticizing dying (“If I died, people might love me
more”)


 

§ Writing stories
and poems about death, dying, or suicide


 

§ Engaging in
reckless and dangerous behavior


 

§ Giving away
prized possessions


 

§ Saying goodbye to
friends and family as if for the last time

What can you do?

Parents taking time out to be there for their kids is the first
step in the right direction. As Yawar Baig succinctly points out: “Today in the
Yuppie and Puppy cultures the idea of bringing up children is to feed them,
ensure that they are washed and dried and entertained. This thinking is the root
of all evil. Food, a dry bed and toys is what your dog needs, not your child.”
Don’t be selfish with your time or the time will come when you will want to
engage with your kids, but they will want nothing to do with
you

 

Speak up if you’re worried
If you notice concerning behaviour from your child, you must speak
up. Very often your child will not want to discuss his or her problems
especially if there was a former communication barrier. Breaking the ice and
opening lines of communication can be a daunting task. Forcing the issue will
not help. You will have to be gentle yet persistent in your approach.
When
they do open up, take time to listen to their issues. Do not interrupt or
trivialise their issues. Issues small to you maybe mountains to them. Be
sympathetic, caring and helpful. You may take it for granted but at times, all
that your child needs is to know that someone cares

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council
of Muslim Theologians
223 Alpine Road, Overport,
Durban

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