Article in brief: Success and happiness are directly proportional, or are they not?
Clarification: This article looks at reasons from a non-professional’s perspective on why individuals may resort to suicide and aims to look at how those reasons can be avoided.
As news spread that Robin Williams committed suicide couple of months ago, the world was shocked. He was a much-loved comedian who entered our hearts through the big screen in movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society and many others. In addition to that, he was well reputed in the standup comedy industry and theatre works. Not to mention being nominated for three Academy Awards for best actor, and is a recipient of the Academy Award for best supporting actor, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards and five Grammy Awards.
He was successful, appreciated and loved; yet, he suffered from clinical depression for the past ten years before his tragic death. Joining the ranks of the rich and famous that took their own lives, such as Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe, Whitney Houston, and Cory Monteith. One can only think, are success and happiness directly proportional? Will I be happier if I am more successful? Not necessarily.
Unquestionably, one of the most common reasons people commit suicide is depression. Depression is a mental illness that can reach people of all ages and achievement levels. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, depression may be defined as a “psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration (…) and suicidal tendencies.” It can last for varying amounts of time; depending on the environment the person is living in and how it is affecting his mental state. It is an illness that requires awareness in order to be eliminated.
What creates depression for many individuals is the feeling of loneliness, but in the presence of religious practicing we are not alone; even though religion isn’t the core reason that holds people’s sanity in place, it can be a good outlet to connect with a higher being and a purpose.
In the UAE, if a suicide attempt is met with failure, it will be met with legal action, according to Article 335 of UAE Federal Penal Law (No. 3 of 1987) the punishment will be maximum six months of jail-time and/or a maximum fine of AED 5,000, but ponder on this thought; will restrictions and punishments decrease one’s willingness to commit suicide?
Though the suicide rates in the UAE are comparatively lower than the global rate, it has been on the rise in the past years. Speaking to The National, Abu Dhabi based lawyer, Nashwa Al Qubaisi said, “After a doctor reports a patient as being suicidal, the patient would then be required by the police to sign a statement that they would never repeat the attempt,” she adds on “This is futile. This issue needs psychological solution more than a legal solution – they need to go to a rehab centre, not prison.”
Robin Williams is a case that many will wonder how they could have helped. In many places of the world, like the U.S., rehab centers and special doctors cater to suicidal victims. What we need is a similar structure here. Suicide is on the rise for many reasons and a lot of times if you have no family or friends around you, knowing there is a professional help around the corner can be helpful.
Speaking as a student, this issue touched me deeply, particularly because I have come across several cases of students committing suicide due to exam results, and the consequences that follow; such as the recent one involving the suicide of a high school student due to his CBSE results, his suicide note was found in his chemistry paper. Board exams, or any ordeal we may pass through, will test our patience and bring us to new personal lows. But such tribulations will only be managed by confidence, diligence and perseverance.
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