Set to Die?

Suicide which was once known to be foreign to Nigerians seems to have taken over the airways as
common to news carried daily is a story of a suicide or an attempted suicide. Suicide, the act of ending one’s life intentionally is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds (WHO). It is also estimated that 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
It is quite difficult to explain why some people commit suicide. Commonly known to be due to mental disorders, many others choose to end their lives due to some other complex reasons. However experts believe that a person is more vulnerable to suicide when the person has been exposed to:       
  •  Traumatic life history of sexual abuse or parental neglect.
  • Mental disorder such as schizophrenia, severe depression, borderline personality disorder etc.
  • Family history of suicide or suicidal attempt.
  •  Misuse of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Unemployment or job dissatisfaction.
  •  Problematic relationships.
Other risk factors for suicide include stigmatization, increased debt, homelessness or loss of a loved one. WHO estimates that 30% of global suicide is carried out using self-poisoning while others include use of firearms and death by hanging.
The measures for the prevention of suicide can be carried out at various levels (individual and societal level). Such measures include:
·       Reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
·       Introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol (WHO);
·     Identifying, treating and caring for people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
·    Training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
·         Caring for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.
The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 is COMMUNICATE, CONNECT, CARE. Speak up, speak out. Reach out. Help someone in need. The person may just need that help to get over a suicidal attempt.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

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