Suicide becomes an option as an extreme end where someone has tried “everything within their limited resource”

By Psychotherapist Mertha Mo Nyamande


What is Violence?

Violence and Aggression includes Fire-Setting, Suicides and Gender Based Violence (GBV) or Domestic Violence (DV), which form critical parts of Risk Assessment (RA) in managing Mental Health Disorders (MHD) that bring about illness and other lasting ill effects.

It is important to separate MHD and the issues they cause so as not to confuse them as Mental Illnesses (MI).

These issues affect the self initially, for psychological pain starts within before it is externalised, they then extend to others, often when it becomes visible in physical form and other ways.

This is when they become issues that require intervention.

Unfortunately, most initial interventions are punitive in nature due to the poor understanding of the problem, thereby adding to the pain.

Essentially these behaviours are ways that the individual tries to express how they are feeling within to others around them, in part to raise attention in seeking help, often misunderstood as attention-seeking behaviours, and in part as “maladaptive” coping strategies.

So, whenever someone is becoming violent or aggressive, they are simply communicating how they are feeling inside whether they understand it or not, and this requires sensitive and careful handling.

GBV and or DV on the other hand are societal learnt behaviours that have been kept as secrets in families and communities, especially sexual exploitation/rape, and a wide range of other abuses, some of which have become “cultural” as they rarely occur without the knowledge of the families, and neighbours/communities.

Suicide becomes an option as an extreme end where someone has tried “everything within their limited resource” but cannot seem to find a way out of their situation, nor make a decision that they perceive as less painful for them and/or others – causing “crippling indecision”; thereby applying a permanent solution to a temporary problem because of the perceived hopelessness.

Internalising the pain is often what leads to the internal emotional turmoil and most mental disorders, addictions and other forms of “Deliberate Self-Harm” (DSH) and disability due to the individual’s distress, whereas externalising it is often what affects others the most, leading to violence; GBV, including Rape, and Homicides. All different forms of violence.


Causes of violence and aggression are often deep-seated and unconscious to the individual, their families, and communities, and are rarely individualistic, unless in the cases of organic/brain injury or infection.

Therefore, mental disorders are a shared misnomer but are usually displayed by certain individuals who are more sensitive to the concealed behaviours around them.

It is not that they lack resilience as often argued, but rather more sensitive to want to effect change in things beyond them.

The violence displayed within mental health is not of the disorders themselves, but the associated frustrations caused by being ignored or intimidated to avoid airing out the problems, undermined, misunderstood, and or exclusion due to stigma.

In some cases, violence is brought on by a depletion of essential vitamins that compromises the amygdala leading to paranoia and persecutory hallucinations or delusions, and in others clinical conditions like diabetes, insomnia and physical pain can cause irritability.

Boredom also becomes a feature where poorly structured services create situations where people seek to entertain or occupy themselves with behaviours less likely to be healthy or progressive.

Peer pressure, self-esteem, and the need to fit in with the crowds, and mob psychology also play a part in how some of these behaviours present – conformity.

The reason for most of these behaviours are primitive in that when one loses their conditioned reasoning or mental capacity as per modern expectations, they often resort to basic survival and “barbarian” instincts, which today’s cultures label as disorders.


Violence is often a destructive behaviour that seeks to “force” something where it is not naturally or otherwise suitable.

violence is not tolerant to others’ needs or different views and intends to subdue those exposed into a state of fear and anxiety that limits their ability to contribute their innermost thoughts and desires or challenge/question the things they perceive as wrong.


Development in such environments is poor due to only certain people being permitted to contribute, however limiting.

Violence comes out of people feeling threatened and the need to defend or extend their position against the will of the other.

GBV is a typical example where mostly men exploit women and children into meeting their needs and desires against the rights and needs of these vulnerable groups.

Remedies and recommendations

Knowledge or wisdom is not entrusted only to the old/er, but the young can also bring about new and innocent or pure ideas that can help neutralise the problems of frustrations between generations due to the knowledge/information gaps.

There is need to recognise the frustrations brought on by the poor understanding of various needs at different developmental stages from both psychosexual and social learning theories.

These misinterpretations leave gaps in knowledge that fuel the extreme behaviours exhibited in societies and the tolerating thereof. Thereby paying attention and considering the views and needs of all ages brings about more inclusive and tolerant societies.


Creating learning environments that seek to address core issues without assigning blame, but most importantly challenging violent behaviours and signposting them to helping interventions than taking punitive approaches can also help.

It is also critical that social policies look at reviewing and amending cultural practices into what is evolutionary and diverse as we merge into a global community, for the needs of a human being are universal, worldwide; Physiological, Safety, Love/belonging, Self-esteem and Self-actualisation, beyond which Self-transcendence is also possible – for we are one.



Mental Health: Wellbeing and Happiness Series with MoNya-Mental, by Psychotherapist Mertha Mo Nyamande @








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