Thoughts on suicide in Trinidad and Tobago

This post seeks to broaden the epistemology of the greater society on the matter of life and suicide. In light of the passing of Chester Bennington, akin to other cases of suicide, society cries out “Suicide is the Easy way out” or “They should man up and deal with their problems”. In my opinion, these statements are considered to be foolish and thoughts of the ignorant. There are several theories out there that explain the reasons in which one might consider taking their life.

Studies carried out by Beck and the case studies by Lester (1998) have deduced the presence of an underpinning congruence between depression, the feeling of hopelessness and the thought of suicide. The thought of committing suicide is never the first that comes to mind. The human body is hardwired for survival, therefore one must endure a great deal of suffering to overcome this primal nature of our species and contemplate the act of taking one’s life. These feelings of hopelessness can arise from several environments or scenarios such as negative views towards their future, their self or the presence of an insurmountable problem.

As we are discussing the topic of suicide, Durkheim, (1951) theorized two major social constructs that shed four sub theories that give a broad example or reasoning into the thoughts of suicide. These are Social Integration and Social Regulation. The sub reasons are as discussed below.



Social Integration

Egoistic Suicide

This is usually due to the lack of social needs, There exists a disconnect between a person and the greater society. This may be as a result of sunning from peers, not being able to express oneself amidst a group or even as simple of being new to an environment and having difficulty adapting.

Altruistic Suicide

This is the need to sacrifice oneself for the sake of others.

Social Regulation

Fatalistic Suicide

This is described as the result of excessive and the core feeling of rejection from society. From its description, a majority of the suicides that occur are due to this reasoning.

Anomic Suicide

The feeling of being lost and not aware of oneself nor one’s purpose in society. These persons tend to feel unguided in their decisions.

Freud lightly discussed the matter of suicide, his view was more philosophical in this matter and Menninger elaborated its purpose into the three wishes based on guilt, revenge and hopelessness.

Some theorists such as Ordway (1997) and Engstrom (1999) theorized a biological linkage between the human chemical composition and brain structure to the likelihood of suicide. Studies explained that some of the compositions are clearly a derivative of chronic stress and depression.

Finally there it can be stated that there are three causes; external factors, internal factors and neurobiological dysfunctions. External factors can be anything ranging from acute to chronic stressors to the loss of a loved one or even the case of deteriorating health. Internal conflict can arise from a history of abuse when young and it has manifested over time. Neurobiological dysfunctions are a theory of the damaged prefrontal cortex allowing one to ignore their primal nature to prevent self-harm.

I never intended to utilize a definitional perspective in this post, however during my thought process I felt the urge to inform the general public that suicide is not something that can remain taboo and that the instant it is discussed, society (especially Trinidadian and Tobagonian culture) tends to shut it down and downplay this issue. This issue need to come to the forefront and as a country we need more avenues for persons to discuss their feelings. Having a suicide hotline is not enough.

In closing I would like to leave a quote for you all to ponder on.

“People are like Diamonds,

Each and all perfect in and unique in their own way

Never take a look at only one facet

And begin to believe that you know everything about that person”

-Aaqil Ali

Rest in Peace Chester Bennington, you have had a great impact on my development as an adolescent and even now as an adult.This post was also influenced by the song “Easier to Run” by Linkin Park that I was listening to this morning as I was driving to work. Park – Easier to Run


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