Gulhan Eryegit Yoldas
Australasian Muslim Times
Sydney, Sunday, June 18, 2017
How is it that Australia holds the title for the most liveable country in the world and the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 to 44 in Australia is suicide?
It is not cancer; it is not road accidents; it is not coronary diseases and it is certainly not terrorism… our leading cause of death for the demographic that is essentially in the best years of their life from age 15 to 44 in Australia is suicide.
Surely based on this fact alone the title “most liveable” needs to be reconsidered.
It is frustrating looking through the amount of support services and funding available for suicide prevention in Australia where one topic appears to be almost deliberately avoided.
Surely when a soul is broken the only way to repair it is by reconnecting that soul with The One who created it.
Is there any reason why turning to God, The Most Merciful and Most Compassionate is not included as the core strategy for dealing with our country’s increasing suicide rate?
According to 2015 ABS statistics, every day, at least eight people kill themselves in Australia, over 3000 people each year, and the number growing.
Studies show that religiosity is the single greatest deterrent to combat the consistent rise in suicide rates. Religiosity strengthens a person’s resilience, quality of life and acts as a moral deterrent against even attempting suicide.
Low rate among Muslims
There are many reasons behind why people are choosing to end their own lives, but in its essence, is an understanding that suicide is an option.
Muslims believe the life given to us by our Creator can only be taken back by our Creator. It should come as no surprise that the world’s lowest rates for death by suicide are found in countries that are largely Muslim populated. Countries like our neighbours Indonesia have one of the world’s lowest suicide rates.
In fact, the general pattern when you look at the countries with the lowest suicide rates globally is the religiosity of the nation (references included).
Revisiting National Strategy
We urgently need to reconsider our national strategy for suicide prevention.
It breaks my heart knowing that these days most people know at least one person who’s taken their own life.
These are young people, majority of them young men who aren’t given the relevant resources to reconnect with their Creator in a way that fills them with hope and resilience in dealing with whatever life throws at them.
While there is great potential in certain strategies, particularly those around “showing gratitude” and “service to others,” when these strategies are void of God they become meaningless and empty struggles. It is when you start to recognise your many blessings, show gratitude to you Ever-Present Creator for your countless blessings; it is then that you take a positive step towards mending and reconnecting with your Lord. Service to others for the sake of your Creator, to earn His good favour is a way to enrich your life both in this world and the hereafter.
Epitome of disconnection
All souls yearn to be connected with their Creator.
Suicide is the epitome of that disconnection. Whenever you see a person in deep despair, notice their body language with their heads hanging forward, their faces in the palms of their hands. It is almost as though their soul is yearning to prostrate to their Creator for relief from their burdens, their foreheads craving to be level with the ground to beg Ya Fattah for a way out of whatever calamity they’re faced with.
It is time we realise as a nation that we cannot simply treat the body by clinic means and not treat the soul.
“And do not kill yourselves. Surely, God is Most Merciful to you.” (Quran 4:29)
May God, the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, bless your families with great abundance, prosperity, good health and increase our faith this blessed month, and place peace and muhabbah in our communities, Amen.
Gulhan Eryegit Yoldas is an advocate for intercultural dialogue and her work has been published in Turkish News Weekly. Ms Yoldas, who lives in Melbourne, was nominated for Australia’s ‘Top 100 Brightest Young Minds’ in 2006. The above article, which appeared in the February 2017 issue of ‘Australian Muslim Times’ has been reproduced here with the permission of its Managing Editor Zia Ahmed. Image Courtesy: Australasian Muslim Times