Stemming Suicide Rate


Recent report on the growing rate of suicide among young Nigerians in recent times is becoming alarming and requires urgent attention.
In the World Health Organisation (WHO) survey conducted by Spectator Index and published on July 29, 2018, Nigeria was ranked as the fifth suicide-prone country in the world. Nigeria also has 15 per cent per 100,000, that is, the country is placed fifth with 15,000 suicides in every 100,000 suicide cases.
The list was topped by South Korea with 24, followed by Russia with 18, India with 16 and then, Japan placing fourth with 15.4. The list was completed by the United States, France, South Africa, Australia and Canada.
Going by that survey, it means that out of every 100 persons in Nigeria, 15 persons commit suicide annually. Incidentally, experts say 90 per cent of these cases are traceable to mental illness, which result in depression and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia.
They pegged the primary reason behind suicide to frustration, leading to depression. Nigeria is a highly volatile country where hardship is part of everyday life. While hardship leads to depression, subtle undiagnosed chemical imbalance is also a vehicle of depression. Ignorance to the peril of depression could lead to suicide as the only option.
According to research, suicide is a sad reality which requires special focus to stem.
The growing incidence of suicide among Nigerians has become worrisome to the extent that psychiatrists and other physicians have called for high index of suspicion for signs and symptoms of depression among their patients.
They point to research which reveals that during their lifetime, about three percent of Nigerians will have thoughts about ending their lives while some will plan how to kill themselves and actually carry out an attempt to kill themselves.
The WHO survey also indicates that there are 322 million people living with depression in the world. Nigeria is also ranked the 30th most suicide-prone out of 183 nations in the world and she is equally ranked 10th in Africa after countries with higher rates of suicide such as Togo (26th) in the world, Burkina Faso (22nd), Cameroun (19th), Zimbabwe (16th), Central African Republic (13th), Sierra Leone (11th), Angola (9th), Equatorial Guinea (7th) and Coted’Ivoire (5th).
Experts are also of the view that seven million Nigerians are living with depression, a major risk factor for suicide and are, therefore, calling for well-structured primary health centres that would help detect and treat the condition early before the onset of suicide attempts.
From the foregoing, therefore, we urge Nigerians not to be driven to the point of taking their lives as an option to end depression occasioned by hardship. Infact, the government at all levels should encourage a healthy business environment to make small and medium scale businesses to thrive. This will go a long way in putting food on the table of the people.
The government should also create more job opportunities especially for the young ones and equally intensify the monitoring of the rate in which drugs are abused by the youths in the society, as drug abuse constitutes a strong reason for suicide in the country.
Besides, it is not enough to raise taxes and Value Added Tax (VAT) on alcohol alone but other measures like effective sensitisation of consumers on the adverse effects of such harmful products need be put in place.
If agencies such as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) step up their game by ensuring strict compliance, monitoring and implementation of policies that discourage drug abuse and influx of fake consumables into the market, the rate of suicide among Nigerians would be reduced to the barest minimum.
We caution that gambling and investing in ponxy schemes should be discouraged while the government comes hard on operators of these gambling outfits whose stock in trade is to short-change and exploit the unsuspecting masses.
While we note that poverty is also a major cause of this tendency amongst Nigerians, it is imperative that the Federal Government should rejig the economy, as this is a veritable means of stemming the suicide menace.
No doubt, faith-based organisations and philanthropic individuals have contributed immensely in alleviating the hardship and suffering faced by the average Nigerian on a daily basis, we, however, call on them to do more to get the people out of the woods.
The theme of this year’s commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2018, “Working Together To Prevent Suicide” is most apt and appropriate.
We say so because there is urgent need for all hands to be on deck to stem the tide of suicide among Nigerians.