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Artiste tasks FG to expedite action on suicide prevention

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Gospel artiste and suicide prevention advocate, Samuel Akinyemi a.k.a Psalm Ebube has lamented the alarming suicide rate among youths and adults in the country.

Akinyemi who was honoured as African Civility Educator of the year 2021 by I Change Nations (ICN) USA, called for a national suicide prevention strategy which would work towards the ultimate goal of suicide reduction. He said the absence of said strategy in Nigeria is not only stalling the management and control efforts of suicide, but fuelling stigmatisation and discrimination of survivors as well as their relatives.

He went on to add that creating an enabling environment for suicide prevention through legislation requires an urgent overhaul of the criminal legal system that will decriminalise suicide and attempted suicide, passage of the mental health bill to promote mental well being and ensure access to treatment.

According to WHO, about three percent of Nigerians will have thoughts of ending their lives during their lifetime while some will actually go through with it. With an average of 15.1 suicides per 100, 000 yearly, Nigeria is ranked 15th most suicide-prone nation in the world and seventh in Africa.

“Prevention means community awareness programmes and these usually involve helplines and public education at workplaces and schools to increase knowledge and reduce stigma. Programmes draw on gatekeepers like clergy, teachers, and first-line responders who receive special training. Involving and training these persons is an important means of prevention, assessment, and management,” he said.

Akinyemi, founder of the Stay Alive Civility Global Initiative and the author of the book series, ‘Stay Alive’ tasked relevant arms of government to act with urgency.

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