Things that shows Nigerians are suicidal

Residents of Isheri Oke in Magodo, Kosofe Local Government Area in Lagos State woke up one early morning in June last year to find the body of a frail-looking and gaunt middle- aged woman hanging on a tree near the Isheri Grammar School. The body dangled from the tree located in front of a vulcaniser’s shop which shares a boundary with the expansive school compound. It could easily be seen by passers-by along Bankole Street.
Minutes after early risers found the body, the news spread quickly and a crowd of onlookers gathered in front of the shop while some wondered aloud how and why this woman would take her own life. At Igando area of Lagos last week, a 50- year old woman from Okitipupa in Ondo State dropped her wrapper and jumped into a well.
Disturbed about her whereabouts, her relations got the police to arrest her husband. After the man has spent three days in police cell, neighbours sighted her body floating in the well. Only then did her 18-year old daughter remember that her mother had told her earlier of her plans to commit suicide. In another reported case, the body of a female secondary school student was found dangling from a tree in the suburb of Badagry also in Lagos State.
Investigations revealed that she was not promoted to a higher class due to her poor grades. She took her life before her case could be reviewed by the school board. Late December, Lagosians were taken aback when a drunk and armed policeman, identified as Stephen James, shot dead three male customers at a hotel, Paulson Hotel in Anibaba Street in Ketu area of the city. However, when his action dawned on him, the police officer turned his gun on himself and committed suicide.
But suicide is not limited to Lagos as many more of such cases abound across the country.
According to a report from Enugu on March 10, 2016, a 22-year-old bricklayer, Akabuike Onyedika, committed suicide. Onyedika who hailed from Isukwuato in Abia State but resided at Umunkpume Orba in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, went out and was never seen until security operatives were alerted. A search party later discovered his body on a cashew tree with a rope around his neck.
Suicide defined
According to its definition, suicide means ending one’s own life. It is sometimes a way for people to escape pain or suffering. When some end their own life, it is said they “died by suicide. A ‘suicide attempt’ means that someone tried to end their life, but didn’t succeed.
Although, there is no current national data to show the level in the incidences of suicides in Nigeria, cases of people taking their lives in the country is now common, going by the ones that are reported. Many, especially the ones that are recorded in rural hard-to-reach areas, still go unreported. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year, approximately one million people die from suicides, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds.
According to available data, suicide accounts for one to two per cent of total global mortality. “One in every 6,000 persons will die from suicide per year. However, for a Consultant Psychiatrist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Babatunde Suleiman, the suicide rate in Nigeria is the same with what is obtainable in other countries. But another Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Ogunnubi Peter, disagreed that the number of suicide cases in Nigeria is on the increase. For him, it is enlightenment that is making more suicide cases to be reported.
Why Suicide?
The reasons vary from medical, psychological, economic to even spiritual. For instance, the first lady mentioned in the outset was said to have committed suicide for psychological reasons. After her sister, a fellow Liberian, was infected by the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, there were fears that she was also infected.
For that reason, many neighbours had isolated her. “I believe she was fed up of being stigmatised daily,” an onlooker said, adding, “That is probably why she killed herself.” With the economic downturn in the country occasioned by the falling prices of oil in the international market, massive loss of job, many people’s hardships are on the rise, leading them to be despondent. It has been predicted by a number of experts in the field on mental health, that with the current general increased hardship witnessed among a larger section of the populace, the country will record more suicides. The WHO estimates that by 2030, depression will be the second commonest disease.
Peter, quoted earlier, reasoned that “if depression and suicide are like husband and wife, that means we will continue to have increased cases of suicide.” According to a Clinical Psychologist at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Morakinyo Gabriel, people commit suicide for other reasons. He said suicide is basically as a result of a person’s inability to overcome some challenging situation. Similarly, a number of people will also commit suicide as a result of mental health issues.
There are certain categories of mental disorders, especially depression that might prompt a person to commit suicide. He noted that depression is a mood disorder, making the person to feel very low most of the time. It also affects the thought system of the individual, making him/her believe in most negative things.
“It makes the person to have a negative view of the world; to see things in very negative perspective and to believe only in negative outcomes. “So, once this thought system, has been compromised to the extent of having total negativity of that person’s mind, it could actually lead to: ‘what else am I doing here? Everybody is enjoying but I’m not enjoying; everything looks so bleak and hopeless, and what am I even doing here? Let me go over to the other side and then move on’.”
Furthermore, Gabriel explained: “People are also committing suicide because of certain beliefs. For example some people believe that the act of committing suicide would ensure a better life in the afterlife. Of course, such people are the ones we call ‘suicide terrorist groups’ who would deliberately commit suicide.”
On his part, Suleiman said: “Certain risk factors will make some people do it.” Explaining, he said going by the patterns noticed: “Women attempt more suicide than men but men actually commit the act more than women. Men commit suicide two to three times than women.”
According to Suleiman, men use more lethal methods in executing suicide. “Men are more likely to use guns to carry out their suicide because they have easier access to it; men usually hang themselves by virtue of their gender while women usually take overdose of drugs which provides them plenty of time for intervention which probably saves their lives thereafter.”
Globally, Suleiman said there is an increasing trend in suicide among young people. Youths of 15 to 24 years are committing most suicide, he added. Other risk factors are: old age, people who are above 45 years that are divorced, separated, or widowed; people who have psychiatric conditions, and people who suffer depression.
Similarly, he said alcohol and substance abuse are risk factors, in addition to suffering from terminal illness, or chronic medical conditions, as well as breakup in relationships. He also noted that social pressure too could result to suicide. “With regards to some important personalities in the society, who for political reasons finds themselves at the lower level in the society, could also be at risk. For instance.”
“Big men that are now being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arrested and detained, may actually feel as bad as to commit suicide! Suleiman said. Furthermore, other factors that could pressure individuals to commit suicide are general economic downturn being witnessed in the country. For instance, he said when a 24-year-old loses his job, he will still be able to adapt better than someone who lost his job at 55.
He noted that when people are sacked in their middle age – between 50 to 55 years, when their children are still in the universities, some will feel as if they’ve come to this world for nothing. That could be a passport for quick suicide for some, Suleiman added. In addition, people who suffer from psychosis and personality disorder also have increased tendencies to commit suicide.
Explaining the issue of how personality disorder could increase suicide risk, Suleiman said: “Some people are very jittery which is normal. I’m not saying when you face examination or when you face armed robbers you should not be jittery, but there are some people that are chronically anxious; they worry a lot; they take things so personally; and any little thing gets them upset.
“They worry about everything. This is their own natural pattern of behaviour; these are people who are prone to committing suicide.” On his part, Dr. Peter noted that the problem with the Nigerian environment is that unlike other countries, Nigeria does not have a ‘Suicide Preventive Strategy’. If this was in place, he said many suicide cases could have been prevented. For instance, according to him there are usually four major stages before suicides happen.
“The first stage is suicidal idea, when the person will first of all, have the idea of killing himself. ‘May be I should just end it,’ the person will say but if he quickly takes it off his mind, he will continue living his life. The thought could come up again and he would take it off. These are suicidal ideation,” said Peter. Once suicidal ideation continues to increase, it becomes suicidal intention. That means the person wants to die. According to Peter, he is now intending it. He will then be telling himself: “I think I should just do it; if I die I would be able to escape. I have left school for many years, yet I have no job; I cannot feed my family and my children are looking up to me. I am a useless father; I am now a useless mother.”
Considering that the person is now intending it, Peter said this level is higher than ideation. “If that is not quickly checked, perhaps, the person did not cry out for help or no one was able to identify what the person was going through, the fellow now goes on to suicidal plan.”
That means, at this level the person will say: “Should I go and drown? Should I use a lethal weapon? Should I drink rat poison? Should I jump from a high place? Should I jump into the sea?
Should I run into a moving vehicle? Should I turn the gun against myself? Should I use overdose of drugs?” At this stage, Peter said the fellow is now planning it. He will be asking himself questions such as: “When do I do it?” After this third stage, the consultant psychiatrist said if no one was able to check the suicidal plan especially if those around failed to monitor him/her until the person goes into suicidal attempt, this is when they just attempt the suicide and in most cases it may fail and thereafter they will still be alive.
But if he succeeds that’s when it will be said that the fellow has committed suicide. Before the person goes through all these stages, Dr. Peter affirmed that a ‘Suicide Preventive Strategy’ in place could avert many cases of suicide. How exactly does it work? He said, all over the world, many nations have this strategy in place.
“For example, in Australia there is a free toll line that somebody who is sufficiently troubled and intending to commit suicide can just call. If you dial the toll-free line, they call you back and you in turn will talk about your problems.”
Suicide signs
According to Suleiman, people should watch out for signs of suicidal intentions in anybody who is depressed and above 45 years, especially those who do not have anybody around them. Such people could be widows and widowers, elderly people that are lonely, people abusing substances and anybody that had indicated that he is fed up with life. Another important group of people to monitor closely for traits of suicide are those who have attempted suicide before. “They are likely to repeat it,” said Suleiman, adding: “The best depicter of future behaviour is past behaviour.
With regards to the role expected of the federal and state governments, he urged them to improve the economy. “The youth must be employed and hopeful, while everybody must be meaningfully engaged. Those are general suicide preventive measures,” he said. Depression can be prevented through building and utilization of recreational centres
By:Critical news

Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me.

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