What are the causes of suicide? How do we protect who think about suicide?

We were all distressed by the news of the suicide of the 11-year-old girl, Catherine, and her message had an impact on social media which raised questions of: Why did such a girl think about committing suicide and leave a message full of sad meanings, why did she commit suicide?

I commented on Catherine’s suicide news, and I pointed out the danger of the pressure that children live to achieve an acceptable level of education and a certification that has become the most important demand in our time, it becomes more important than a person’s status with his Lord, Glory be to him, more important than prayer, fasting, morality, and religious duties, more important than everything! And that is based on the girl’s last message before she passed away, the girl’s words provoked the reality that Muslims are immersed in to the point of being blindly dragged, the extreme sanctifying of diplomas is blameworthy, and to evaluate people upon their ranks in gaining these certifications, then the pious will be underestimated because of a low mark, and the deviant is exalted because of academic excellence!

The warning calls are still ignored, but it was not enough to understand the cause that made the bright girl commit suicide?!

The news of Catherin’s suicide did not pass without provoking questions in myself, which prompted me to research in her case, especially after I knew of the frequent suicide cases in her area and that it is not a one girl case with an individual case, indeed, we are in front of a phenomenon that outbreaks silently and negligently, it should be handled seriously and responsibly.

I quote her some of the local suicide news:

“The number of suicides recorded in northwestern Syria since the beginning of this year has risen to 22 cases, including 11 failed cases, after a new suicide was recorded in northern Syria during the past 24 hours with two failed attempts as well, knowing that the region recorded 88 cases last year (55 suicides, 33 failed cases).

“Women constitute the largest group in the number of these cases because there is no one help them overcome the difficulties they suffer from, and youth who are unable to deal with the various difficulties and pressures they face, in addition to the state of instability in a significant increase in the region as a result of the many and periodic changes that all regions of northern Syria are witnessing”.

“The Idlib countryside under the control of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham has witnessed 10 suicides since the beginning of this month, most of them living in camps near the Syrian-Turkish border.

Local sources said that all those who committed suicide in their second decade, some of them used poisonous pills, while a 16-year-old girl hanged herself in her room, as a result of severe psychological pressure.

“The sources indicated that some of the suicides live in camps on the Syrian-Turkish borders, in difficult living conditions, after they failed to escape towards the Turkish border, looking for to live a safe life away from the restrictions that the Golani militants impose on the residents of the camps, and impose more royalties on their families or expulsion them from the camps”.

“The month of May recorded the highest suicide rate in the liberated areas, after documenting about 10 cases so far, while local sources in Idlib said that this year recorded the suicide of more than 30 people, including women, as a result of the difficult economic conditions and psychological conditions that people live.”

A 17-year-old Syrian girl committed suicide in Jordan’s Zaatari camp on Sunday, according to Jordanian media.

A Jordanian security source said, “On the first day of the new year 2023, a 17-year-old girl (Syrian nationality) committed suicide, by wrapping a rope around her neck, inside her family’s caravan located in Zaatari camp,” according to the Jordanian website Madar Alsaa.

“Zaatari camp, the largest Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, is located in Mafraq governorate, and houses 78,812 refugees, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”

Diagnosis reality

We note that the suicide rate has increased in areas of displacement and asylum and in a center suffering from hardships, blockade, and the consequences of wars, and most of the suicides are women and adolescent girls, and in most cases the girl falls before suicide in severe depression and her psyche declines until she reaches the desire to commit suicide and with the presence of contributing factors to facilitate her task, such as negligence in the responsibility of selling dangerous medicines without a prescription and to anyone, the lack of school and family inspections or mature absorption of depression cases, as well as the presence of an atmosphere of bullying, abuse, and cruelty has been shown its devastating effect! Who intends to commit suicide will find an easy ground paved for him to commit suicide, no one prevents him or reminds him of God and realize his damage! This pushes him more towards death…!

In fact, the suicide waits to be rescued by a faithful hand, before drowning! As if with his feelings and collapse, he is crying out for help in a way that most of those around him unfortunately do not understand!

Catherine’s story

Catherine was the first daughter and the first joy of her family, a Muslim family that strives to achieve happiness and safety for its children like all Muslim families, but she was a girl with a very sensitive psyche, different from her brothers.  Although she is a special and intelligent girl, she was hurt to the extreme by a word that killed her, feelings hostile to her, or just features that did not welcome her!

This made her captive to a state of extreme depression, which accompanied her during her study and in her interactions with her friends, and although her mother discovered that early, and tried to help her, but the matter was deeper than it seems, as Catherine avoided answering her mother about the reason for her depression. She quickly shies away from confronting her thoughts, taking away the idea that medical intervention might be required.

Interestingly, following up Catherine’s case revealed that there were messages addressed to her classmates before the suicide. There was a missing link that Catherine’s family could not remedy, which is Catherine’s relationship with her classmates, with a very sensitive psyche, her classmates’ impact had scars on her young heart. Furthermore, because Catherine does not like to cause grief to her family, she buried these bad feelings which contributed to the aggravation of the symptoms of depression!

Catherine’s family was trying to provide all of their daughter’s needs for girls her age, perhaps this relieves her depression, and perhaps it provides an attempt to express concern for her and to make maturity in her as a girl who approached puberty and began to prepare to go out of the stage of the child to the stage of the woman.

Over time, the family discovered that their daughter’s academic level had declined, as her teacher told them about her mark which dropped by 15.  This decline was lethal in the psyche of the distinguished girl, and caused her excessive sensitivity. Because she cared so much about what was said about her. And for what she wants to achieve!

The day Catherine left

It seems that the state of depression that Catherine was suffering from was so deep that she lost consciousness and insight, this is shown in the details of the day she died, which is the dark day in which she ate one “pill”, which was enough to cause her death. On that day, the sad girl returned from the school exam, trying to show calm and stillness, no one can read what she thinks and what she hides behind her smile!

Which caused a huge shock to her family! Because what happened was neither reasonable nor expected, it was heartbreaking and seismic. Catherine did not show anything alarming on the day of her suicide…!

Catherine was sensitive and secretive, hiding her pain, and not revealing it even though she showed her family that she is a social girl, has friendships with whom she communicates and is fine.

No doubt Catherine’s family thought of consulting a psychiatrist one day by noticing a gloom in their daughter’s features, but perhaps they did not expect that it was so urgent, nor were they able to comprehend to which degree the girl had moved away in her suffering!

The strange thing about Catherine’s story

After analyzing the chapters of Catherine’s story, we see that there is a flaw in the girl’s way of thinking and behaving that does not provide a reasonable explanation. The girl was, according to her school, teachers, classmates, and everyone who knew her, a good-natured, polite, superior, and kind girl. She was loved by those around her, which led some of her loved ones to expect that what happened to her was caused by envy!

The life of the grieving family was turned upside down after the passing of their daughter in a tragedy. There was nothing in Catherine’s life that would really push her to commit suicide as a girl who lived a stable and safe life among a family that loved her and cared for her, or that’s what it seemed from the outside, at least, undoubtedly!

Yes, the evil eye and envy may be influential, but it seems that the issue is related to the state of depression that Catherine fell into.

Catherine memorized 6 parts of the Holy Qur’an from way back and had completed a complete recitation of the Qur’an. She loved the Qur’an, and if she heard her father reciting, she loved to correct him. She maintained her prayers and wore her hijab since she entered the third grade.

It is not easy for the grieving family to comprehend what happened or forget it! Whenever the parents and their children gather, they miss Catherine. She no longer sits with them at their gatherings and dining table.

Her brothers go to school and come back. They go to the Qur’an Institute and come back, but Catherine does not go or come back!

Perhaps the most important reason that encouraged Catherine to commit suicide was her lack of awareness of what suicide really means, and then the ease of reaching it with the triggers she saw for it in her midst and amid her depression…!

How did she commit suicide?!

Anyone who meditates on Catherine’s story will find that the girl with a very sensitive psyche had fallen into a state of severe depression, and no one felt the extent of this depression, because Catherine was good at hiding and dealing with her feelings in terms of pretending that everything is fine when asking frank questions to her.

But Catherine received dangerous information. It was information about how a girl could commit suicide simply by taking a “pill.” This information was widespread among her, and without any alert from the school or the parents, so no one realized that it was a deadly idea!

 But who inspired Catherine with the idea of ​​the pill? Who guided her to commit suicide in this way? There is no doubt that there was a contributor to her killing, even if he was doing so as a mockery or a joke! It is a murder of a soul!

The issue is not just knowing what type of pill kills! But also easy to obtain. It was easy for Catherine to buy what she could kill herself with, it was enough to go to a known address and get the pill, for a small amount of money!

To understand the dimensions of the case, the idea of ​​suicide was not far from some of Catherine’s colleagues. One of her colleagues said: I bought the pill, but I threw it on the road.

Catherine bought not one but two pills, and was keeping the second perhaps in case the first suicide attempt did not succeed! The pill still raises questions: How did Catherine get the pill, in terms of idea, purchase, and take!

Catherine left the Arabic language exam, and her heart was filled with accumulations of depression, feelings of despair, helplessness, and shame! She was not satisfied with her answers on the exam, so she went directly to buy the two pills, then returned home, no one knowing what she had with her.

She was in such a state of depression that she was unconscious. It was her date…! She left with a feeling of despair from an exam that should not occupy all this attention in her life…! But it was the environment that imposed on Catherine these distorted concepts, which had a tragic ending on a very sensitive psyche…! It is a very harsh environment created by an entire life system.

Background that should not be overlooked

With some research, we will find that the idea of ​​taking medication to commit suicide was not strange to Catherine, based on what she witnessed one day in her life. She saw a woman in her school who took two pills and died after that, as a result of problems with her husband.

So Catherine memorized the scene and it stuck in her mind because she knew the woman and saw how she died even though Catherine was still a child. But the scene stuck in her young mind and seemed to have grown with her and remained as an obsession that haunted her during periods of depression.

For the woman, the idea of ​​taking medication was an attempt to attract attention and sympathy, and when Catherine fell under academic pressure and long working hours, she and her colleagues in general were affected psychologically by the pace at which things were going. Only two or three girls withstood this pressure.

This reality would not have passed peacefully through Catherine’s highly sensitive soul, so why were she and her colleagues affected and fell behind while some persisted and even excelled! Especially since Catherine is a girl who works and studies hard and loves the quality of excellence and superiority. But the unfortunate truth is that its competitive environment is exhausting and destructive, neither builds nor raises!

This faltering passion created pain and complications, especially when the outstanding students moved away from her because of her academic decline. It was very hurtful for Catherine to see them stay away from her despite the feelings she had for them…!

This was reflected in her thoughts and writings, and the pages of the notebooks were the time for broadcasting Catherine’s sorrows! She expressed her feelings through writing and drawings.

Deadly chaos

There is no doubt that the ease Catherine obtained the pill facilitated the process of suicide in deteriorating and disturbed psychological conditions. Although a circular prohibiting the sale of these pills became effective after Catherine’s suicide, 3 girls were able to commit suicide after that in the same way! It is a great loss, especially since one of them was a nurse!

 Talk of suicide was usual among girls of Catherine’s age, and I fear that it has something to do with what they see in dramas and movies that may be easily accessible through the Internet and television.

The school is supposed to conduct an investigation to find out the roots of the idea and where the students came from for such a deadly act that takes their lives. Reviewing academic programs and the degree of pressure they cause on various psychological levels among female students. The impact of this is clear in the details of the story of Catherine and her colleagues.

Warning signs

From what Catherine was writing on her pages (I am depressed)

Excessive sensitivity, extreme secrecy, constant depression, the companionship that she keeps despite the problems and sadness it causes, writings that reflect an abnormal psychological state, complaining about trivial things, interest in the words and opinions of others to the point of sadness and retreat, exaggeration of positions and details that are not worthy, bullying, arrogant, and hurtful friends. All of these details should concern parents and not neglect them, because they may be a precursor to developing suicidal tendencies.

Catherine was very hurt by her relationship with her classmates who had moved away due to her academic decline, and this affected her with great sadness. How many words and actions are thrown around without attention, which may lead to the death of a person!

It is not a single case!

Posted by a Syrian mother, thoughts of suicide among us

In a post, the mother says: “I was thinking, ‘Who told an 11-year-old girl about taking a gas pill and committing suicide because of low marks?’ I was shocked by a piece of paper with my daughter’s handwriting written on it: ‘How do you kill yourself?’” It was thrown away with the burning items. My heart stopped for a moment. Then I realized that they were playing a game, and apparently, in this game they were suggesting ideas about how you could kill yourself. Guys, forbid the mobile phone and YouTube from your children. Since when did the child know methods to kill himself or was thinking about suicide.”

I believe that the words of the shocked mother are sufficient to show how serious the matter has become! And explain Catherine’s family’s tragedy with their daughter!

So that we don’t lose another Muslim girl

Below I summarize important points for treating people who have suicidal tendencies:

Where does suicidal ideation come from?

Most suicides are due to mental health disorders:

Such as cases of severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and everything related to psychological disorders, as well as the repercussions of drug abuse and alcoholism.

These factors help: a history of a harsh and traumatic childhood, the presence of suicide cases in the family or neighborhood, or the scenes and media outlets.

Suicide occurs as a result of chronic attachment to the world and its trappings, and failure in it causes frustration and despair, such as losing a job or failing in study.

It also occurs due to chronic emotional disappointments, such as the loss of a strong relationship or the shock of the end of a failed relationship, the collapse in confidence and devastating betrayals, or exposure to what causes shame and frustration with oneself.

This includes feeling alienated from people and isolated, and feelings of self-loathing which arise from bullying and mistreatment. All of this becomes fatally effective in the absence of the faithful advisor and the striving reformer!

What makes suicide easier?

In reality, if a person who is thinking about suicide does not have someone to rescue him from the state of collapse he is in, he will become even weaker and will give up to the absence of reminder and psychological assistance, and the unavailability of a trustworthy advisor at the time. The process of killing oneself will be accelerated by his ease of knowledge and access to materials and tools that assist suicide.

An environment that does not care about what incites suicide, such as belittling dealing with killing oneself as something that gets rid of life’s difficulties, and belittling the crime of killing oneself. The circulation of these ideas in the form of sarcasm or influential information, all has a cumulative effect that motivates suicidal tendencies, so people should not underestimate what comes from their tongues because they may be the cause of the loss of a person and the killing of a soul! In the hadith: “Are people thrown into their faces – or: on their noses –  in Hell for anything other than the harvest of their tongues?”

Also contributing to the formation of these murderous tendencies is the distance from the Qur’an and the solemn faith education, and dependence on the companionship of this inferior world, which does not exceed the swamps of reprehensible and exaggerated competition in the means of obtaining livelihood and social status, and everything that puts matter ahead of the spirit, and makes achieving a degree and money more important than mental health.

Moreover, dealing with souls is according to society’s standard, not according to their ability, psychological state, and qualifications, and they bear more than they should, and the destructive examples surround them. There is no mercy for those who do not observe these standards and requirements of society. Then comes that toxic company that causes withdrawal, and with it, the light goes out!

3. Signs of suicidal tendencies:

The most prominent signs of suicidal tendencies include discussing the topic of suicide, and repeating phrases such as “I will kill myself,” “I will let you get rid of me,” “I wish I died,” and other expressions of reprehensible discontent.

Paying attention and being aware of suicide methods, researching, asking about them, and even owning them.

Isolation, walking away, and entering a state of depression.

Writing posts and letters that reflect the degree of collapse, suffering, and loneliness.

Feeling helpless, hopeless, frustrated, and ashamed of oneself. This creates the environment and also the exaggeration of feelings of gratitude for the family and excessive love that is not refined according to the guidance of love in God Almighty.

And turning to addiction, such as taking drugs or alcohol.

Acting recklessly, without regard to public decency, or by recklessly exposing oneself to danger.

Add the messages and words of final farewell that settle in a person’s features, words, and traces.

In fact, a person doesn’t need to show suicidal tendencies to commit suicide, but it depends on the moment of weakness in which he collapses, and the suicidal person often hides his feelings, until he kills himself. He often becomes weak, but he finds a hand to lift him up and he wakes up and rises!

Treatment of suicidal tendencies

God Almighty says: “And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. (29) And whoever does that in aggression and injustice – then We will drive him into a Fire. And that, for Allah, is [always] easy. (30)) An-Nisa.

Establishing doctrinal and faith awareness is the first stage of behavioral therapy, with which those around us must be protected from the idea of ​​suicide in a difficult and severe environment and compelling circumstances. This requires a policy of prevention is better than cure. Creating doctrinal awareness is the most important thing that must be established in the minds before any other science. Unfortunately, in our time, all sciences receive attention for the sake of – passing marks in schools – and the student may be knowledgeable in that, but he is ignorant of monotheism and does not appreciate God as much as he deserves, and he is not worth anything in the eyes of God Almighty, but he is preferred over the pious monotheist, even if he works hard to achieve academic acceptance…!

Addressing this great defect that caused the nation’s backwardness, both ideologically and physically, is a priority, and we are backward today only because of the weakness of hearts and the fragility of souls, which neglected the inheritance of the righteous predecessors, which brought for us humiliation, weakness, and dependence on this world and the wrongdoers.

Most suicide rates occur among individuals who have a doctrinal disorder and psychological fragility, and matters are made worse by a demanding and arrogant environment that does not remind of God, but rather makes the person a slave to the world. Or an environment that encourages suicide.

Suicide is one of the greatest sins. The Prophet, may the blessings of Allah be upon him, said: He who kills himself with something, will be tormented with it on the Day of Resurrection.

Educating oneself to raise the Qur’an and the Sunnah is enough to create resistance against suicidal tendencies, as they are tendencies that essentially come from losing insight and surrendering to the repercussions of raising this world over the afterlife.

In many cases, behavioral therapy, correcting concepts, and controlling thoughts are enough, but in other cases, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, and anti-anxiety medications are necessary (in cases diagnosed with psychological disorders), to reduce the burden of the symptoms of the disease on the psyche and facilitate response to behavioral treatment.

For those addicted to drugs and alcohol, addiction must be treated first of all.

There is no doubt that the availability of a supportive family environment is not a luxury that someone contemplating suicide always finds, but families that love their children and want to do good for them must have a space for “An hour of faith” and a space for “affection and mercy” between family members, in which God Almighty is glorified and the Hereafter remembered. In it, the trappings and problems of the world are dwarfed, concepts and feelings are controlled, and disorders and weaknesses are diagnosed before they become difficult, especially in a severe reality. May God Almighty bless the gathering and those who attended the family council, which is the priority of those who live in distress and war today. There is no way to remain persistent except through righteousness and supplication. Family estrangement and chasing this world at the expense of the hereafter have cost us many psychological losses and killed promising aspirations.

I would add, ensuring that means of suicide are not readily available, whether at home or abroad, by creating awareness of the danger of providing dangerous medications to mentally ill patients, adolescents, and those with suicidal tendencies. As well as ensuring the distance of toxic personalities, which contribute to the collapse of the psychological state of children or expose them to decline and loss of self!

Message to Muslim families

Love for our children and the individuals around us must be a love for God that preserves their faith and integrity and advances the interests of their hereafter over every earthly interest that burdens them.

Therefore, one of the most important things that I advise in this regard is to love individuals with all their goodness and weakness and deal with their abilities to absorb them, not with what capitalist societies impose and destroy them.

Loving a daughter should not be related to her school results, but firstly, rather by being a Muslim, and raising children on that is what necessitates their success and lightens the burden on them in facing life’s obstacles, which will become easier because they have gained self-confidence that enables them to be patient…!

Parents should show dissatisfaction with missing prayers, not a drop in grades in school.

They must try to deal with academic weakness flexibly and comfortably, not as if it were a matter of life or death! Children are placed in the place that suits them, where their genius explodes, not in what people and neighbors ask for and compete for.

Treat children with what suits their psychological characteristics and the energies and abilities they possess, no matter how low you see them, not with what imposes on them the harshness of life, pleasing people, and endless greed.

In this way, we win straighten souls and do not contribute to their deviation. Rather, we may be amazed by their good rebellious efforts against the ignorance of the era…!

I receive many messages from “women who are tormented on earth” who are tired of the obligations that Allah has never authorized, cases of psychological collapse, loss of confidence, passion, wandering and loss, and even deviations to escape from an unfair and pretentious reality! Not to mention many emotional disappointments that end in unhappiness and frustration…! All of this requires paying attention to psychological details and generating invulnerability against its collapse before we lose more lives that may turn into girls, building together the nation with only some understanding!

It is important to note that feelings of suicidal tendencies are temporary and momentary, related to the psychological state. As soon as this state changes and the soul strengthens, it disappears! Therefore, it is very important to hug the sad person and relieve the distress of the distressed person. It is important to make amends in moments of weakness and need, relief matters, and create safety and trust. Perhaps the greatest guilt against a Muslim who lives with you under the same roof or expects good from you! To let him down in the moment of anguish and distress, and in the moment of calamities and weakness! The Prophet, may the blessings of Allah be upon him, hugged the trunk of a palm tree that was groaning! We see souls being broken, estranged, and tortured, instead of being understood!

Take care of the hearts of those around you, do not break them, do not burden them with what they cannot bear, and do not make their lives more difficult! Pledge to them to be benevolent, understanding, make excuses, disarmament, bear the responsibility of faith, and honor brotherhood, and do not be an assistance to Satan over them. The best thing you can offer them is to help build their doctrinal and moral awareness, and strengthen the emission factors of patience, trust, and certainty in their hearts!

It is a very difficult feeling for a Muslim to experience pain because of the carelessness of those around him, their neglect, their injustice, and their lack of piety… And weak souls are easy to go down the wrong path, especially without the resilience of faith and faithful people!

Do not push those around you to hate life, for whoever is not supported by faith and believers, is the one who is defeated in the battle of this mortal life!

Catherine left, leaving behind her lessons, a family that misses her and wants her back, a society that still needs a lot of work to mature, and other weak souls, sending out warning cries: Is there a savior?

Preachers, the frontier are complaining of disappointment. People of specializations and skills… where are you! This world has distracted you from working in the way of God Almighty, so rise up to repair the weakness and reform before you are held accountable. (Let it be known that enjoying worldly life and its pleasures is incomparable with the pleasures of the Hereafter).

I ask God to pour patience and reason on Catherine’s family and every bereaved and grieving family in the event of the suicide of one of their loved ones, and that these incidents be an incitement to taking responsibility for the relations between us, and good covenant and neighborliness…! It is an opportunity to create immunity and comprehension for children who witnessed the passing of their beloved brothers, so they hugged them…!

God Almighty grants success.

Translated by Aya

Original article in Arabic:

ما أسباب الانتحار؟ وكيف نحمي من يفكر في الانتحار؟

What are the causes of suicide? How do we protect who think about suicide? pdf

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