A Psychiatric Nurse, Prof. Fatai Badru, on Wednesday called for a holistic approach to address causes of suicide in Nigeria.
Badru made the call at a forum to mark the 2019 World Mental Health Day celebration in Lagos.
The programme was organised by the Association of Psychiatric Nurses of Nigeria ((APNON), Lagos Chapter, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba.
Theme of the programme was: “Suicide Prevention; Global Challenges and Future Direction.”
He said that the increasing rate of suicide made it pertinent for stakeholders including governments, families, policy-makers and organisations to collectively look at the causative factors of suicide with a view to addressing them.
Badru said that identifying and proffering solutions to causes of suicide remained the first step to be taken in tackling the issue of suicide.
He said that suicide was most committed in low and middle-income countries, listing depression, emotional trauma, economic challenges, neglect, financial imbalance, joblessness, among others, as some possible causes of suicide.
According to him, suicide as a deliberate fatal self-harm, accounts for 1.5 per cent global death; for each attempted and successful suicide tends to affect about six people.
Badru said that suicide was more common among adults and young adolescents between 15 and 39 years of age.
“The rate of suicide incidence in Nigeria today is no doubt alarming and very disturbing. Most shocking is the fact that younger ones are not excluded from the worrying trend.
“Report from World Health Organisation (WHO) says that about 800,000 people die every year through suicide and about 85 per cent of suicide occur in low and medium-income countries.
“Nigeria ranked 67th in the world base on suicide and ranked number one in West Africa in suicide rate.
“Depression is likely the major cause of suicide. People are depressed for various reasons, ranging from loss of loved ones, mental problems, and occupational, economic and financial problems, among others.
“The nation’s socioeconomic environment is one of the factors that could lead to depression and possibly suicide.
“Suicide, as a multi-sectorial issue, requires efforts of all stakeholders in the society, but if the government can make policies that would address the economic challenges in the country, the rate of suicide incidence will reduce to a great extent,” the expert said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of APNON, Lagos State chapter, Mr Timothy Alabi, called for creation of more job opportunities and improvement on remunerations and welfare of the workforce.
Alabi said that government should create more job opportunities, not necessarily clerical jobs, but provision of some vocational jobs for citizens, particularly youths for them to be gainfully engaged.
He said that the unemployment crisis had created generation of graduates who could not find jobs, with many losing hope in the future.
Alabi, however, stressed the need for creation of more awareness campaign on the causes of suicide and how it could be prevented.
“The government should adopt policy that will aim at adding value to people’s life by ensuring that the basic amenities are provided to aid living standards of the citizens.
“Government should also create awareness of suicide at all levels of care. Create jobs for youths.
“Parents and family should avoid putting undue pressure on their dependants or children on any issue,” he said.
Also, a Chief Matron, Mrs Olaoni Fatimetu, said that there was need for Nigeria to return to the old communal way of lifestyle where people care for one another.
Fatimetu, also the Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), said that the use of social media had reduced the communal relationship among Nigerians.
He said that people no longer have time to relate and discuss one on one with each other.
According to her, social media contribute to suicide cases, because people see and get information on the fastest means of committing suicide through the social media.
She said that a child lost his life because he was going through emotional challenges and called for the attention of his mother who did not attend child’s call immediately because she was pressing phone.
“Because of social media, people no longer create time to discuss and pay attention to other’s needs. Parents no longer have time for their children.
“Somebody may be going through emotional challenge, but may not have the opportunity to physically express the situation due to discussions done through social media.
“Such person may end up killing himself because nobody is available to counsel him one on one,” she said.
Fatimetu urged Nigerians to shun the attitude of self-centered behaviour, which had become rampant in the society.
According to her, our society is fast transforming from the communal Africa tradition one where you are your brother’s keeper and collective interest of all matters to a more secluded one.
“Nigerians should shun the idea of `is about me, my wife and my children’ to embrace brotherly love and care for one another.
“Everybody should work together to stop this act.
“Words of encouragement should be given to those experiencing trial times around them. The rich should stretch their helping hands to the poor,” she said. (NAN)
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye
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