Why take your own life?
There is a popular saying in the local parlance, ‘Where there is life, there is hope.’ Some may view this as a fruitless comment, meant to massage the ego of the poor and hopeless. But is it really so? There is also another common proverb that says: ‘A living dog is better than a dead lion.’ This is to assure the living that no matter how deplorable their present conditions may be they should not lose hope, as tomorrow would surely be better.
In Nigeria of today, it is not news that many people are living beyond acceptable poverty level, struggling daily to eke a living. Many, who were working in reputable organisations with access to good things of life, are today barely surviving, due to economic hardship brought about by retrenchment and sundry issues. The result of this is depression, anxiety and a growing state of hopelessness. It is, therefore, no wonder that cases of suicide in our society is increasing by the day. Rather than summon courage and face each day with hope and confidence, some now see suicide as the best means of escape from their present woes. But should that be the case? The answer is capital NO.
The retrogressive state of our country today is as a result of the mismanagement of our resources. Wealth that are meant to be used for the good of all are being siphoned by select few, who use same for self aggrandisement, while majority of the masses are left to wallow in abject poverty. Though this situation has been the practice over the years, it took the present recession and the present war against corruption for many more of these excesses to be uncovered for the world to see. Even then, failure of the leadership to realistically address the problem has further confounded matters, such that the cost of basic things of life has grown out of the reach of the masses. The onus, therefore, lies on the leadership to be more sensitive to the needs of the masses, so that the state of hopelessness now pervading the land can be lifted as soon as possible. As for the followers, the days of complacency are over.
God created us to live fulfilled lives and not to be failures. Sometimes, we encounter situations that tend to weigh us down, such as financial crises, marital issues or bereavement. How should we respond to such? This is where mental well-being comes in. So much attention is being given to other parts of our body, such that we forget the importance of our mental state, which deals directly with our thoughts and actions. Often times, I believe that many cases of insanity can promptly be curbed, if adequate attention is promptly given to those exhibiting some of the symptoms associated with mental illness. Our mental homes today are overflowing with people suffering from emotional traumas. They need our support.
With the alarming rate that people are reportedly committing suicide or attempting to do so, it is obvious that the appropriate health officials must be more proactive in giving attention to issues concerning mental illnesses. Designated counselling points with trained professionals can be introduced at our hospitals, schools and even churches to help give hope to the hopeless. Material support, where necessary, should also be encouraged.
So, you are facing hard times and contemplating taking your own life? Stop. You have no right to do so. Are you sure of what you will face on the other side of the divide? Think of the troubles and heartaches you will be leaving behind. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Miracles do happen. Your case is not over. God is not through with you. We must learn to face each day with positivity. I believe that tomorrow will be better.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.