Monday, 11 June 2018

80 Nigerians Commit Suicide In 13 Months

There is a surging trend of Nigerians committing suicide, with about 80 reported in the last 13 months, according to incidents collated by Daily Trust newspaper.

The report said that 89 people had committed suicide between April 8, 2017 and May 12 this year according to the paper which analysed content of Nigerian newspapers.

Majority of the reasons given for the reported suicides range from financial difficulty, marital problems, academic challenges, among others. Lagos State leads the pack with 14 reported cases within the period under review.

Close to 800 000 people die globally due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

According to WHO Suicide Ranking, there are 15.1 suicides per 100,000 population in a year, with Nigeria now the 30th most suicide-prone out of 183 nations in the world.

Nigeria is also ranked the 10th African country with higher rates of suicide, leading countries like Togo (ranked 26th), Sierra Leone (11th), Angola (19th), Equatorial Guinea (7th), Burkina Faso (22nd) and Cote d’Ivoire (5th).

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) said suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds globally.

Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 78 percent of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4 percent of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death in 2015.

There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide, there may have been more than 20 others who have attempted suicide.

Causes And Signs Of Suicide – Experts

Medical experts have identified some of the signs that someone may be thinking or planning to commit suicide to include:
*Change in behaviour or the presence of entirely new behaviours; when a person is always talking or thinking about death or killing him/herself, when a person loses interest in things he or she used to care about before and making comments about being worthless, helpless or hopeless, such are prone victims;
*Taking risks that could lead to death, sudden mood swings or switching from being very sad to being happy, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means;
*Acting recklessly and withdrawing from activities;
*Threaten to kill themselves or say things such as “no one will miss me when I'm gone’’, give away their valued possessions or write a will.
*Personality defects, and some diseases that make potential victims feel incomplete;
*Mental illnesses like depression, drugs abuse, and adjustment disorders;
*Unemployment/economic hardships;
*Peer influence/Parental harshness;
*Reactions to failure and disappointments (feeling helpless and hopeless)
*Domestic violence;
*Alcohol dependence among others.
Experts say people around anyone exhibiting these signs or who have attempted suicide before should be encouraged to seek help from experts and appropriate authorities.

Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, a consultant neuropsychiatries and psychotherapist said that against the general belief that suicide results from mental illness, not all people who commit suicide are mentally ill. Dr. Kadiri, who is also the Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services, Lagos, said that suicide prevention needs proper coordination and collaboration to ensure effective outcomes.

According to her, suicide is not the best way of dealing with personal loss or the way to manage any situation. “Suicide has to stop and this involves joint campaign by everyone.There is need to develop resilience (the ability to cope with adverse life events and adjust to them), a sense of personal self-worth and self-confidence, effective coping and problem-solving skills, and adaptive help-seeking behaviour because they are often considered to be protective factors against the development of suicidal behaviours,” she advised.

What Religious Leaders Say

The Founder of the Al-Mustofiyyah Society of Nigeria, Ustaz Maisuna M. Yahya, said while it is haram (forbidden) to commit suicide, some of the reasons for the rising cases of suicide in the last one year include economic hardship with some who graduated having no job and those who learnt apprenticeship have no money to buy equipment, as well as the low-income salary earner who struggles to meet up with obligations or the sacked or retired.

“Suicide is a great punishable sin in the sight of Allah. And whoever hopes in God will be repatriated by Him. So it is important to have strong faith in Allah as the Sole Provider (Sustainer)", he said.

On his part, the Chief Imam of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society, Sheik Fuad Adeyemi, said non-reliance on Allah and over ambition among others also contribute to the high cases of suicide in the country.

Also, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle told Daily Trust that the economic situation in the country is largely responsible for the high spare of suicides.

“From all indications, the political class has failed us. They over-promised but under-deliver and instead of joining hands in solving social and economic problems, they are indulging in blame game. The jobless, the hungry, the homeless, the hopeless, the rejected, the poor, the sick who has no one to take care of him or her at all, do not care which party is ruling or the opposition.
“All they want is a solution to their problems. If the religion is preaching better life in the Hereafter, the government is not put in place to send them to the early grave but to help them to justify their existence. Our government at all levels should wake up from their unholy slumber before the situation snowballs into a revolution because a hungry man is an angry man.

“Nigeria has what it takes to make life comfortable for all and sundry. The political class should stop cornering our commonwealth,” Ayokunle, who spoke through his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji said.

WHO has however advised the media to exercise caution when reporting on suicide to protect the sensitivity of the public and prevent others from being affected by the stories.

By Mercy Kukah

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