A Psychologist and Para-Social Worker, Mrs Imabong Sanusi, has urged government and parents to make concerted efforts to curb the rising cases of suicide among Nigerian youths in recent times.Suicide
Sanusi, who is the Executive Director of Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), an NGO, made the call in an interview with Newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that suicide, which is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, is usually caused by mental issues and hopelessness which can be tackled if parents pay proper attention to children’s
On May 4, a 22-year old lady, Kenile Nwauzor, reportedly committed suicide by consuming sniper, an insecticide, leaving a note that she was troubled by protracted disagreement with her boyfriend.
Around the same period, Uzaka Ebeweri, a 300-level medical student of Niger Delta University in Bayelsa, drowned in a river for failing in examination and was asked to withdraw from the course.
There was also the case of Chukwuemeka Akacha, a final year English student of University of Nigeria, Nsuka and 17-year-old Amos Ibrahim in Jos, Plateau.
Both of them reportedly took their own lives for different reasons.
The WOTCLEFF boss, therefore, explained that mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety are some of the risk factors.
She, however, said that some suicides were impulsive acts due to stress from financial difficulties, bullying and troubled relationships.
She added that the idea of using material acquisition as yardstick to measure success was a major factor to the spate of suicide in the country.
She said “suicide is a mental thing, for one to take his or her life is a big question we should ruminate over. It is hopelessness.
“Most of the times, it is all about life and unrealistic expectations. Mental issues can surface at mid life circle and quarter life circle.
“Using material acquisitions as yardstick to measure success or failure of an individual is also a major factor that can result to depression and eventually, suicide.”
Sanusi said that the near collapse of value system, materialistic messages from varied platforms, as well as the kinds of company people kept, could also cause suicide.
She advised families to be vigilant, while government should take steps to provide structures that would help people with mental challenges.
She added that “the collapse of our value systems is an issue; the types of materialistic messages from various platforms, including the pulpit, is killing.
“At the family levels, talking and sharing are important. We might not all be professionals but situations and experiences can be red flag.
Read also: Nigerian students have one of the highest rates of suicidal thoughts globally- CCAMH
“There is the need for structures where people can go for professional help when they have mental health issues, and they should be free, or at least, affordable.
“Steps should be taken to empower and connect mental health patients to normalcy because mental health issues are about disconnection and the lack of empowerment.”
The psychologist advised government to take steps toward controlling tools and substances that could be used for suicide, as well as mass education and sensitisation of Nigerians against the act.
She said “the ways by which suicide could be committed should be noted; people drink poison, burn themselves, stab themselves, jump from structures like lifts and rails, run into vehicles, jump into aquatic bodies to execute the act.
“Government should, therefore, take steps to control such platforms. For instance, since people jump into water, let there be enough barricade.
“There should be messages to warn people against suicide, such as `before you take your life, talk to someone.”
Some stakeholders also suggested ways to tackle the issue of suicide.
They told Newsmen in separate interviews that the issue of depression should be taken seriously, noting that many parents in the country do not see it as something to bother about, but it is a phenomenon worth serious attention.
Mrs Ufedo Alfred, a housewife and mother of four, said depression was real and prevalent, even among adults.
She said that depression could start from upbringing when a child felt not loved, and
advised parents to take time out to understand their children.
Alfred said “depression is everywhere, even among adults.
“It usually starts with the upbringing of a child, being conservative and not feeling loved.
“Parents need to take out time to understand their children’s emotion and how to help them to manage it at all times.”
Another parent, Mr Peter Amos, advised parents to make themselves easily accessible to their children always, saying “when parents make themselves accessible, children will always feel free to discuss their problems and take advice they give them.
“Love can kill depression; most youths that are not properly taken care of become addicted to social media where they get funny ideas on how to kill depression, which could include suicide,’’ he warned.
He advised parents to be cautious of the language they use to communicate with their children, and to avoid quarreling in the presence of their children.
Miss Rebecca John, a youth corps member, cited bad parenting, low moral upbringing, low self esteem and unemployment as possible causes of depression and suicide among youths.Related