The trauma of suicide and the need for raising awareness in our Iranian Community is higher than ever before. Every now and then another tragedy of suicide hits our communities. Suicide is occurring in every community, however in our Iranian one, we lack debate about this issue and we lack to gather preventive measures.
The trauma of losing a soul into the world of helplessness and hopelessness is beyond our human understanding. Although there is no single explanation or factor contributing to the act of suicide, still, what I observe as a multi-cultural clinician, high parental expectations, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem are same factors that stick out all the times.
The regular response to suicide in most communities is: Silence, shame, guilt, distraction, distorted beliefs, fear, and more silence. What happens in our multicultural community? We feel sympathy (no empathy) for the family and after a while dead silence.
In situations of young people committing suicide, there are some manifestations of how some individuals cannot stand up to their anxious parents who condition love. Suicide becomes a painful act of desperation for people who lack resources in dealing with life tasks or in meeting life; however, the context in which these individuals live is significant to understand why suicide happens.
How come we keep silence about suicide? We could save lives if we came out and share our experiences of the loved ones who lost their bodies and minds into the world of darkness. If we let go of the blame mentality, we can see that in general we Iranians are not keen on discussing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues.
What we in the field of mental health are observing is that we Iranian parents tend to impose our own beliefs about higher education, position, status, and perfectionism to our younger generation.
It is unfortunate to say that in our Iranian culture, some parents drive their young children to the world of darkness. Why? Haven’t you seen those Parents who are attention seekers, parents who brought up children to this world to have assistance in their senior time, parents who need to control the world, parents who think they are too important why their adult children should be less than perfect? They are all around us; therefore, suicide and parenting styles are truly interrelated in our communities.
Some families raise their high standards and their high expectations of their children to a level that children find that unachievable. Our lifestyle has become most hazardous when it comes to not accepting our inferiority’s and weaknesses. Instead of a humble acceptance of how we could use our strength for a better life, we try to overcompensate all the time by striving for more.
Suicide is the last resource for a person and probably the last desperate act to end the pain. Parents and families have a responsibility to break the negative cycle that we live in, the cycle of being forced to a lifestyle that we are not a fan of, while we do the same thing to our children.
Suicide in our communities is mostly due to the cultural forces on individuals who do not find the freedom to be who they are because families keep pushing their own agenda on each other.
In every community we hear those stories; some are close to our hearts while others make us nervous and anxious. We have to talk about suicide prevention in all communities. Hope we do it by heart and not only by our brains.