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Suicide: When death is not the end

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By FEMI OGUNSHOLA

The increasing cases of suicides across the world have continued attract attention. Those committing suicide cut across gender, age and social status.

Although there is no available data on the demography of suicides and suicide attempts, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a recent report said 800,000 people commit suicide every year globally.

Dr Ninyo Omidiji, a Psychiatrist, Clinician, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, said suicide is the third leading cause of death especially among young people world over.

According to him, suicide is an aggression directed inwards, an intentionally inflicted harm on oneself, resulting in a fatal outcome.

“In your very locality someone might just be contemplating taking his or her life as we speak.  I wish we have a steady and holistic approach of supporting one another.

For inexplicable reasons, Lagos Lagoon is synonymous with suicide and suicide attempts for Lagos residents.

Instead of being a vehicle for trade and wealth creation, the lagoon has become a place where many choose to fatally end their frustrations on earth.

Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Agency, (LASEMA) recently bemoaned the spate of self-inflicted deaths on the waters below the famous Third Mainland Bridge.

According to him, the 11.8 kilometres long lagoon has witnessed series of suicide cases in the last four months.

For instance, on Nov. 11 an unidentified lady dived into the Lagos lagoon on in an apparent case of suicide.

Official of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the lady alighted from a commercial cab on the bridge and plunged into the lagoon.

On March 18, a medical doctor committed suicide by jumping off the Third Mainland Bridge into the lagoon.

The victim, Dr Orji Allwell, had asked his driver to park his black SUV with number plate LND 476 EE on the popular bridge and leapt into the lagoon.

The following day, another woman attempted to take her life by jumping into the Lagos lagoon.

She had jumped from Maza-Maza Bridge in the Mile 2 area of Lagos. However, she was rescued before she could drown.

An eye witness said the woman was trekking and got to the middle of the bridge, climbed the railing and jumped.

Dr Olayinka Atilola, Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said most people who committed suicide could be doing it as a result of mental health problem or a psychosocial challenge.

According to him, psychosocial problems, includes anxiety, depression, hostility, hopelessness, which exist at the individual level.

He urged government to ensure provide mental health services in each of the primary healthcare centres nationwide.

“The best approach to address suicide is that psychiatric help should be provided at every primary health centre, because many people solve their health problem at the primary level.

“The federal and state governments should endeavour to have a programme that allows people to talk about their health problem and other challenges of life that confronting them daily”, he said.

Dr Funmi Akinola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, Yaba, Lagos said many factors could be responsible for suicide which; include failed relationship, sexual and physical assault, financial challenge among others.

She said that these factors could have emotional effect on an individual when they become overwhelming.

Akinola called on the government to think of establishing hot lines guidance and counseling.

Mr Haruna Abdullahi, Publisher of World Entourage Magazine, while recounting his experience in a suicide attempt said the moment, he lost his mother he became empty and sullen.

“Yes, I am still empty, part of me covered in heaps, I lost it, the desire to live ceased, all my struggles of life were for the comfort of my mother.

“I took to adulthood early in life even as a child to see my mother happy. I was in the race to make her proud. I got married early to make her a grandmother.

“I wasn’t too pained that she died because Allah decreed that we shall all die, I was pained because of all the memories we shared”, he said.

“Death has a way of taking away the present, leaving you with biting memories; my mother died and left behind constricted memories of our yesterday.

He called on Nigerian to always engage the people around them, adding that they could be weighed down with depression.

A cleric, Bunmi Gabriel, said taking someone’s life as a result of depression will rather compound the problem than to solve it, saying time heals all wound.

He said suicide can be both physical and spiritual, stressing that physical depression can come as result of not achieving target as and when due.

“When you could not do those things you are targeting at a certain age, it can lead to physical depression.

He said one factor that can trigger suicide include being depressed but refusing to talk to people about it.

“People should be encouraged to talk to about their experience, especially to those who are of the same age bracket.

He advised those feeling uncomfortable with life associate with people either in church, community meeting, social gathering where they can meet people and share their experiences.

Mr Adedotun Ajiboye, Clinical Psychologist with Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti advised relations, friends and colleagues of persons suffering from depression to be extra vigilant.

Ajiboye said people who suffered depression had the tendency to become suicidal, and called on friends and relation to always be proactive once they notice any unusual behavour by their relative.

He said terminal medical condition, poverty, loss of a loved one or loss of money as other factors often lead a person to depression and contemplate suicide.

“People are passing through a lot of tough times and they may not want to share their experiences, so religious leaders must learn to engage people.

“We must call our loved ones regularly to check on their welfare and see how we can be of assistance, you do not know if that call will just save a life,” the psychologist said.

Unfortunately, suicides magnify and problems that victim seeks to end. The victim leaves behind grieving relations who are likely to be thrown into deeper poverty as a result of losing their loved one and breadwinner. (NAN)

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