The act of suicide is actually not rational. But one thing is certain, suicide is not an infectious disease. So, why are there so many unexpected suicides?
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) says nearly 800,000 people commit suicide every year. This case occurs at all ages and is the second leading cause of death among children aged 15-29 years globally in 2015. The suicide rate in Indonesia in 2012 reached 10,000 per year, double the previous data.
What caused this epidemic of suicide?
Understand why someone wants to kill themselves
Every suicide is a unique case. No one will really know what is the main reason behind it - even experts. There are so many things that can encourage someone to end his own life. Untreated mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder, is the biggest risk factor for suicidal behavior. Some people may be triggered by deep trauma in their lives, chronic diseases, influenced by alcohol and narcotics, or even because of socio-economic factors.
We all face problems in life. One difference is everyone's response to stress and problems are different. Suicide-prone people don't have the healthy mindset needed to think logically and adjust their views to try to solve problems - even when the situation instructs them to adapt.
Basically everyone has an instinct to survive in this world. Human instincts are designed in such a way as to always prioritize personal safety, and this desire to protect themselves encourages the idea that life must be taken good care of in all ways.
It's just depends on what is believed, then the body and mind will follow. For those who are mentally vulnerable, extraordinary despair makes them unable to see the other way out. If they believe that by suicide, their problems and pain will disappear, then the body will also respond with apathy - like a time bomb counting down.
"For reasons that we don't fully understand, some people experience so much despair and pain that they believe that they better just die," Dr. John Campo, head of psychiatry and behavioral health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, reported from Live Science.
Not a disease, why suicide can be "contagious"?
As explained above, everyone's stress response varies. The risk of "contracting" suicide will increase especially if you already have certain risk factors and are in situations that can trigger it.
For example, living with or caring for someone who is depressed. A study from the National Health Institute of Mental Health showed that children living with depressed parents were at three times higher risk of "contracting" depression and two to six times more prone to developing dependence on alcohol and drugs. .
The grief that never subsides after the suicide of someone you love can also increase your risk of depression and alcohol dependence and /or drugs as a way to release sadness. Depression and substance abuse are the biggest risk factors that encourage suicide.
Take for example the suicide cases of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. Both of these musicians have been struggling for a long time with their mental disorders. Chester Bennington has long been known to struggle with depression and drug and /or alcohol dependence. Meanwhile, Chris Cornell is known to have anxiety disorders accompanied by drug abuse.
Chester Bennington's suicide was based on a depressive disorder that had gnawed at him for years. Similarly, Chris Cornell. However, Chester's suicide was allegedly also driven by grief left by friends, and the exposure of the mass media which reported the suicide of Soundgarden vocalist. Cornell's death was believed to strongly influence Chester to end his life in the exact same way: hang himself.
The mass media can mediate between "transmission" of suicide
Similar to the epidemic of suicide that occurred in a number of teenage fans of the controversial TV series 13 Reasons Why in various parts of the world. The exposure of the mass media to the picture of suicide indirectly influences a person's decision to end his life.
Most of these teens have been previously diagnosed with depression or other mental disorders, or are believed to be at high risk. Coupled with watching the familiar sadistic scenes in the show, this can evoke their memories of the trauma they experienced first. Both the storyline and the "outspoken" scenes that were aired in the series were allegedly strong as their main trigger to end his life.
Ways to prevent suicide transmission
Continued exposure to suicidal behavior or actions indicated by someone can increase the risk of other vulnerable people in the surrounding areas, to be affected by the same. For example, by watching or reading things related to suicide, caring for and living with someone who is chronically depressed /severe, or especially witnessing the suicide (both directly and through the mass media).
Adolescents are the group most vulnerable to transmission of suicide through the media. The risk of transmission of suicide through media can be minimized by short news reporting. Prolonged and repetitive reporting can increase the frequency of their exposure to triggers of suicide.
Preaching of the mass media should not divulge detailed descriptions of the method of suicide because it opens the possibility of being imitated. News about suicides must also be supplemented with information on how suicide can be prevented.
If you, a relative, or family member shows signs of depression or other symptoms of mental illness, or shows desire or behavior or wants to attempt suicide, immediately call the police emergency hotline 110 or the Kill Prevention hotline Yourself (021) 7256526 /(021) 7257826 /(021) 7221810.
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- Why were there many unexpected suicide cases before?