12th February 2018

Recognising an impending act of suicide

The eldest son to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro recently lost his life to suicide following a “deeply depressed state.” 

Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart’s death constitutes the many deaths secondary to suicide that are at alarming rates globally. Recently in Botswana we even experienced a case whereby an individual jumped from a tall building, which has not been common before. According to the Global Report on Suicide Prevention, about 800 000 suicides occur globally per year-which translates to one suicide every forty seconds. This simply means that after 40 seconds someone is left to wallow in pain as a loved one is lost. Suicide can be a result of poverty, suffering from chronic illnesses, stressful life situations, drug intoxication to name but a few. In some cases suicide is often a consequence of severe depression.

Sudden crafting of wills and paying off debts

Suddenly giving away prized possessions Verbalising that life is not fulfilling and demonstrating hopelessness

Having thoughts and ideas about committing suicide or even at some point writing them down

Withdrawing or isolating self from family and friends

Over apologising for past misdeeds Having feelings of being a burden to others

Increased use of alcohol and other drugs

Surfing the internet for clues on committing suicide

Whilst the above actions may be non-conclusive is some situations, they nevertheless give us pointers that may be helpful to the distressed individual as help may be sought instantly hence saving the precious life. As observed by Thabo Katlholo in his book Blameless, “the very idea that one wants to die is frightening. As a result, suicide is not easy topic to discuss for many people. But talking about suicide does save lives.”

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