Depression Leading Cause Of Suicide – Experts

Category: Health Matters

There has been an upsurge in suicide, especially among young people, in the last twelve months.

On a frequent basis, suicide cases continue to flood social media space, with many instances under-reported. 

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It is even more worrisome to know that the World Health Organization (WHO), in its 2019 report “Suicide in the world: global health estimates”, said Nigeria had become one of the epicenters of suicide in the world with a suicide estimate of 17.3 per 100, 000. This is higher than the global (10.5 per 100,000) and Africa (12.0 per 100,000) estimates.

A mixed trend of successful and failed suicide cases within the last two months. One involved a student in Kebbi State,

Apart from the above incident, a father took his own life in Imo State.

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The middle-aged man, Austine (Biggy), allegedly committed suicide at Umunwalo off CGG road Irete, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State. The deceased reportedly hanged himself on a ceiling fan in his room.

Another incident involved a final-year student at the Federal Polytechnic Oko

It was gathered that the young man allegedly committed suicide over a failed relationship. 

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A source said the incident happened at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra.

Also, in November, a lady who jumped into a lagoon in Lagos State. The incident occurred at the Third Mainland Bridge around 10 a.m.

A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki and National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, Dr Okwudili Obayi told Daily Post in an interview that “There is a link between economic status and mental health, which leads to suicide.” 

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Obayi noted that when Nigeria experienced an economic recession in 2015 and 2016, suicide was at a high rate.

He said that bad economic situations always come with many mental health challenges, stemming from worries by people about how they will survive.

“Many things come into play: one, there is economic instability. It affects so many things, it leads to increased crime, it leads to terrorism, it leads to poor work output and invariably will affect a man’s psyche. Anybody who witnesses terrorism will come down with mental health challenges – anxiety, depression and all that.

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“What efforts is the government making to find out why persons attempt suicide? No normal person with normal thinking can attempt suicide, but people think it is the best option at that moment. A lot of factors contribute, and those factors are what the government should come in and address,” he said.

Speaking to the Daily Post concerning the issue, a health expert, Dr Robsam Ohayi, said, “people lose hope and do not think there is any way back for them.”

Ohayi, an associate professor, who doubles as the Chief Consultant Pathologist at Enugu State University Teaching Hospital and the Dean of the Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences at Enugu State University College of Medicine, Parklane, Enugu, noted that depression is the primary cause of suicide.

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“The chief cause of suicide is depression. And that is why psychiatrists are warning us that if people are depressed, they should present themselves. That is why they warn us that if we find people who are depressed, who are our family members or friends, we need to be closer to them. So the primary cause of suicide is depression.

“Depressed people must have manifested symptoms or signs over a period of time. But then there are sets of people who kill themselves rapidly, it may just happen, and they kill themselves. So when people suffer certain losses which they think they cannot bear, it may be a loss of a dear one, it may be an economic loss, or when people are not able to absorb certain shocks in life, they just feel like the best thing to do is to end it.

“But everything comes back to the loss of hope – people just lose hope and do not think there is any way back for them.”

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The health expert also lamented that the stigmatization of victims of suicide has not helped in addressing the issue.

“If someone had attempted suicide, for instance, you do not shift the person away from the circle of people. In fact, this is the time to integrate the person, to make the person part of an active member of the community because he has shown a tendency to commit suicide. 

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“Assuming someone even committed suicide, we often find that the families become stigmatized in the communities; they are prevented from taking part in some social and religious rites in the community, such as marriages and tittle taking.

“The person may not even be buried. So when you do this, what does it do? If people have any tendency to suicide, they will not come forward or present themselves to where they may get care,” he said.


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