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Suicide scourge and economic adversity

By Jerome-Mario Utomi
21 November 2021   |   3:13 am
Former Niger Delta militant, Friday Igbegbe allegedly took his own life at Ogbe-Ijoh, Delta State, through a yet-to-be-ascertained means, after a long battle with depression...

Sir: Former Niger Delta militant, Friday Igbegbe allegedly took his own life at Ogbe-Ijoh, Delta State, through a yet-to-be-ascertained means, after a long battle with depression, leaving behind about 36 children and many ‘wives. Also, the Deputy Director, Medical Social Services, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and training coordinator, Suicide Research Prevention Initiative (SUPRIN), Dr. Titilayo Tade spoke on the rising and incessant suicide cases in Nigeria
Tade in that media report stated that suicide rate in Nigeria, especially in 2019 is 6.9/100,000, which is higher than 6.5 rate in 2012; but under-reported or miscoded, because suicide is still a criminal offence, with the shortage of mental health care personnel, cultural and religious beliefs about mental health and suicide stigma. She added that 7.2 per cent of cases referred to psychiatrist services in LUTH were cases related to suicide. She said: “The number of suicide deaths reported as at 2019 is 7,019, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) — 5,110 males and 1,909 females — over five years study period at LUTH’.

I know that close to the entrenched distrust of the political leadership, which characterises our sphere, is the national vexation by the people who once lived in comfort and loved to stay alive, as life was never a burden. But today, life in their estimation has become not only a burden but the shout of the ‘good old days’ now rends the nations’ wavelength with the cost of living comparatively high and national security now a problem; people no longer have value for hard work and honesty

The country is currently a direct opposite of what it used to be. In concrete terms, suicide is triggered by issues such as stress, disappointment, low self-esteem, frustration, academic challenges, health challenges, stigmatisation, sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future, lack of Psycho-social support system, substance abuse, which could be alcohol or drug, dying for a course, which could be religious or family honour, bullying by friends and attention seeking syndrome.

But among these causative factors, economic hardship occupies the driver’s position. As to what should be done, the important responsibility facing the Nigerian government should be the need to go beyond the call for the ban sniper, a poisonous insecticide, and other toxic substances or lethal objects that have been used for this deliberate self-harm as a mere palliative, which only relieves temporal distress, but leaves the disease and its ravages unaffected; and tackle the challenges discussed above beginning with the nation’s economy/unemployment, which is currently in bad shape.

The federal and state governments must tackle the current economic adversity bedeviling the country; promote peace by transforming our current culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence.
• Jerome-Mario Utomi, Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), wrote from Lagos. He could be reached via; or 08032725374. 


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