Suicide: Many Deaths In Few Weeks, 1 Country, 1 Question; Why?

‎By Our Editorial Team –

The growing incidences of suicide and suicide attempts in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State recently, calls for serious concern and the common causes are not far-fetched, reports eyeonthenews.com.

Health experts, cleric, counselor identified depression, poverty, frustration, shame, failure and other unsavory factors as reasons for the high rate of suicide in the Nigeria.

In simple terms, suicide is the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally because one does not want to continue living.

The most commonly used method of suicide includes; hanging, pesticide poisoning, jumping into river, setting self ablaze or through firearms.

The World Health Organisation reports that every 40 seconds, one person commits suicide somewhere in the world, which tallies to 800,000 suicides annually.

In the last few weeks in Nigeria, cases of suicide that came to public knowledge had increased, especially in Lagos State.

Some of the recent cases of suicide in Nigeria was that of one Dr Allwell Orji, who on March 19, jumped into the Lagoon in Lagos.

Also, a 60-year-old politician, Dr Isaac Ojukwu, on February 16, this year set himself ablaze in Abuja.

Some other cases are as follows; a 500 level student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Adesoji Adediran hanged himself inside his room on March 18. A 43-year-old former councilor and a father of seven, Mr. Gbemite Kitchen, on March 29 also hanged himself in Bayelsa State.

It has not ended there, one 38-year- old petty trader, Mrs. Lovina Odo, on March 28 was found hanging on a rope tied to a ceiling fan, probably because she had been married for over eight years without a child in Anambra State.

This online newspaper also gathered that a Navy officer, Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, shot himself dead in Lagos on April 5.

The list of suicide in the country appears endless and one question on the lips of concerned Nigerians is ‘WHY?’ Why is this epidemic called suicide so rampant in Africa’s most populous nation?

However, some experts have been speaking on the menace. Dr. Stephen Oluwaniyi, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, identified poverty, high debt, deprivations, unemployment, job stress and insecurity as related to the current economic challenges in Nigeria.

Oluwaniyi said the current recession in Nigeria is affecting the mental health of some Nigerians, adding that it had also triggered high cases of depression, attempted suicide and other forms of mental illnesses.

He, however, advised members of the public not to be silent about their emotional and psychological problems but seek help from mental health experts.

“The Federal Government should take urgent steps to address the current economic challenges in the country, to check the rate of suicide among Nigerians,” he said.

A Clinical Psychologist, Mr Nathaniel Ayodeji of the Mental Health Foundation, said that suicide had a lot of underlying factors such as feelings of pain, loss, depression, broken relationships and hopelessness.

Ayodeji said that although suicide was regarded as a despicable act in the nation’s culture, many people had been forced into the act as a result of frustration, economic pressures and sense of hopelessness.

“This social problem is a threat to the future of our country and the government needs to act immediately by fixing the economy before the situation goes out of control, “Ayodeji said.

The senior pastor of Assemblies of God Church, Rev. Victor James, called on parents, families, relations, neighbours to watch out and observe others.

This he said was necessary to prevent sudden behavioural changes that might lead to suicide.

“The government, family, institutions and individuals can save the situation. We should observe our environment and be watchful of people living around us.

“The government and orientation agencies should develop orientation campaigns and counseling in schools, markets, workplace, to advocate change and impart on peoples’ behaviour,” he said.

James said that suicide is a sin, it was never God’s will, that no matter the storm of life, believers should never commit suicide instead we should look unto Him for solution.

“Christians should look up to God and seek His help instead of ending their lives, taking one’s life is a sin because it causes great suffering for those we leave behind.

“The unfortunate thing about it is that the one who commits it cannot repent of it because the damage is permanently done.

“Although, there are people like Judas Iscariot, King Saul, Ahithophel, Abimelech and others who committed suicide in the Bible,” he said.

He urged Christians to ask God to help us to be sensitive to the needs of others, especially someone who may be facing discouragement or depression.

Also, Dr Bolanle Ajayi, a Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro- Psychiatrist Hospital, Yaba, while speaking to eyeonthenews.com, advised Nigerians to adopt proper income planning and management of their emotions.

The precautionary measures he said became necessary to prevent the high rate of mental illness which could be due to the current economic recession in the country.

“No doubt about it, there is economic recession going on in our country and a lot of people are being affected.

“Even in our wards now, we see a lot of people coming down with depressive illness, suicide, depression, deliberate self-harm and by the time we look at the primary cause of these illnesses, it is actually this ongoing recession.

“Some people are psychologically affected, socially affected and emotionally affected. Some people have the ability to bring it out and get over it while some of us do not have such abilities.

“We don’t want more people breaking down with psychiatric illness because of recession,” Ajayi told eyeonthenews.com.

Another expert, a counselor, Mrs Bamidele Ojo, said that there are many factors that play a role in influencing whether someone decides to commit suicide.

“Everyone deals with tough times, but some people have been dealt a tougher hand when it comes to life circumstances, past trauma, mental and/or physical illness, social standing, and ability to cope with depressive emotions.

“Sometimes, we lose a loved one because we failed to notice suicidal signs they displayed through their behaviour.

She said that those who have previously attempted suicide but were rescued are at higher risk for future attempts.

Ojo urged Nigerians to give a helping hand to other citizens.

“Please let us all give a helping hand to our sisters and brothers in need. Life is not about you alone but how many lives you have influenced and touched positively.

“People are going through so much at this time that it’s even difficult for them to share with other people. Be involve in other people’s life.

“Check on them. Just a phone call can change a lot of things. Share the little you have with that needy family you know.

“It does not have to be so much because a little drop makes a mighty ocean. You never can tell how much your act of kindness can go to save a dying soul. Let’s be our brothers keeper.

“For the survivors left behind, losing a loved one to suicide is an extremely traumatic event. Grief, guilt, anger, confusion, and emotions of distress and mourning can be quite acute for them,” she concluded.

However, all hopes may not have been lost, as the Lagos State Government has expressed concern on the growing incidences of suicide attempts, and as such has promised to educate members of the public on suicide and common causes with a view to stemming the spate of suicides and suicidal attempts recorded in the State in the past few weeks.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, made this known at a press briefing on mental health to commemorate the year 2017 World Health Day with the theme “Depression: Let’s Talk”.

Idris stated that suicide could be committed by people of all ages and listed its common causes as inability to deal with life stresses such as financial problems, relationship breakup, chronic pain and illness, adding that individuals experiencing conflicts, disaster, violence, abuse or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behavior.

He stressed the need for coordination and collaboration amongst various sectors of the society including health, education, labour, justice, law, politics and the media, explaining that people suffering from depression need support to be courageous, come out to talk about it and shun the fear of stigmatization and discrimination.

He disclosed that the State Government has set up help lines – 08058820777 and 09030000741 – through which residents can ask questions, make inquiries and seek help from professionals early enough to allow for appropriate intervention.

“I must stress that there are people available to help. So, “Let’s Talk” …if you are a student, “Let’s Talk”, if you are a parent, “Let’s Talk”, “If you feel alone in the world, Let’s Talk,” he said.


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