Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
A consultant psychiatrist, Dr Shehu Sale, has said that rising suicide cases are often as a result of lifestyle challenges rather than mental health disorders.
Sale who is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Kware in Sokoto State, also emphasised the need for a holistic approach to addressing the causes of suicide in Nigeria.
He made the call on Monday at sensitisation lecture in commemoration of 2019 World Mental Health Day celebration tagged “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention as a Global Challenges,” organised by the hospital.
He noted that the increasing rate of suicide should be a source of concern to stakeholders including governments, families, policy-makers and organisations to look at the causative factors of suicide with a view to addressing them.
The consultant who is also a certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with both subspecialty qualification (post-fellowship) in Child and Adolescent psychiatry from the College of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA), emphasised the need for more collaborations.
He noted that suicide is more common among adolescents and young adults between 15 and 29 years age group. This he said has been attributed to emotional and socioeconomic problems including substance abuse and globalisation.
According to him: “Suicide should not be viewed as only mental health problem because the menace is becoming a global concern.
“World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 800,000 people die annually from suicide worldwide.
“WHO indicated that over 78 per cent of suicide occurred in low and medium-income countries in 2015, and that 1.4 per cent of all deaths worldwide is attributed to suicide,” he explained.
Sale noted that “Nigeria is ranked high among suicide-prone nations in the world.” He identified depression, emotional trauma, economic challenges, neglect, financial imbalance, joblessness, among others, as some possible causes of suicide.
According to him, peer group rejection, low self-esteem, academic, and relationship failure, family discords can lead to suicide among young people.
“The rate of suicide incidents in Nigeria today is no doubt alarming and very disturbing which deserves more attention,” Sale added.
“This portends a challenging and difficult future for these individuals in terms of their health and for us as a nation if the situation is not adequately addressed.”
He also described mental health education as a tool to curb the rising tides of suicide in Nigeria.
The medical director enjoined parents, teachers and guardians to train their teenagers on emotional management skills.
He advised people to always try to live simple lifestyles and equip themselves with strategies for coping with challenging situations that pose a threat to their mental wellbeing.
He urged Nigerians to always embrace whatever they are going through as a challenge that could be tackled without resorting to negative alternatives.