Psychiatrist raises concern over increasing suicide among young Nigerians


Dr Ninyo Omidiji, a Psychiatrist and Clinician, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, has raised concern over the growing rate of suicide among young Nigerians.

Omidiji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that taking serious measures to prevent suicide had become necessary because of the evidence of an increase in the  menace.

The psychiatrist made this assertion against the backdrop of the commemoration of the World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme: “Working together to prevent suicide”.

Omidiji said that suicide attempt was now becoming an option among young Nigerians, adding that the situation called for concern and must be “nipped in the bud’’.

The psychiatrists said, while suicide received a lot of attention in the developed world, it had been a different case with Nigeria and other Africa countries as it had not been given the needed attention

Omidiji however said that a number of interplay of factors could be responsible for suicide, adding that they could be classified as individual, socio-cultural and situational.

According to him, the individual risk factors include mental disorders, among which clinical depression tops the chart.

Other individual risk factors, according to him include alcohol and substance abuse, feeling of hopelessness, previous suicide attempts and impulsive behaviours.

He added that other factors included history of physical, psychological or sexual abuse, isolation and lack of social support, major physical and prolonged illnesses and family history of suicide.

The psychiatrist noted that the socio-cultural risk factors included the stigmatism of mental health and health seeking behaviours and lack of access to health care facilities.

“Others are cultural and religious beliefs that can seek to present suicide as a viable option, inappropriate media reporting of unnecessary suicide details which can lead to suicide contagion.’’

He listed the situational risk factors to include major financial losses, chronic financial difficulty, breakdown or loss of significant relationships, major stressful life events among others

Omidiji said that to curtail the menace of suicide, there should be a massive public health awareness on mental health issue, which according to him account for 90 per cent cases of suicide.

He said that attempt should also be made to de-stigmatise mental health and suicide through aggressive public health campaign, while calling for a review of mental policy.

“Suicide and suicide attempts record should be made available in every local government to facilitate research and follow up of individuals who have attempted suicide in order to offer help,’’ he said.

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on Sept.10 every year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. (NAN)

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