In September 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) made a very grave revelation: the global suicide toll exceeds war and murder. The suicide death toll, at 1 million deaths a year, accounted for half of all violent deaths worldwide. By the year 2020, it is estimated that as many as 1.53 million humans will die from suicide, with an average of one suicide every 20 seconds.

The statistics are chilling enough. But while we may look at these statistics and shake our heads, are we aware that we ourselves are responsible for creating this monster? With the technological milestones that have been achieved, we are now able to keep connected with almost anyone in the world. So why then is it that people are more distant from each other than ever before? It would seem that technology has given us more goals to achieve, more dreams to pursue, and in return, robbed us of time to spend with each other and also of the ability to care for a fellow human simply because we always have something else to do. Where has the human sense of community gone?

The most common reasons for suicide occur due to: depression, substance abuse, shame, avoiding pain, financial difficulties or other undesirable situations. The reasons given for suicide merely highlights the symptoms of a problem that goes much deeper. Why do people fall into depression? What makes an ordinary person turn to substance abuse? What shame has a person had to endure that he or she would prefer suicide than to deal with it? Are we willing to offer a listening ear instead of turning a cold shoulder?

There are many organisations that are working hard to stop this systemic act of self-destruction from becoming a full blown epidemic. However, this does not relieve us of our responsibilities as beings with the ability to care and help from doing our part. Let’s stop taking suicide lightly. Instead of nonchalantly singing about suicide, let’s take the time to seek out those who need help.

Let us start making it known that “SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION”, because more than 1 million people need to know that.

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