Suicide is beyond mental illness — Dr Sale

By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
THE rising cases of suicide has been identified to be a global concern attributed largely to life styles challenges instead of the conventional mental health disorders even as Nigeria is ranked among high suicide prone nations in the world.

” Suicide should not be viewed as only mental health problem because the menace is becoming a global concern.”

Besides, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had estimated a gross figure of about 800,000 people die annually from suicide worldwide.
Similarly, recent studies in Nigeria have distilled with significant but alarming  rise and disturbing trend in alcohol and substance use among adolescents and young adults, thus;  portends a challenging and difficult future for  such  individuals in terms of their health and as a nation if not adequately addressed.

To this end, Dr. Shehu Sale, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Federal Neuro Psychatric Hospital Kware in Sokoto state who made it known, also advised Nigerians to understand and consider it so.
” 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.

While alerting Nigerians on Monday in Sokoto during a sensitization lecture in commemoration of 2019 World Mental Health Day celebration tagged “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention as a Global Challenges” organized by the hospital, Sale further emphasized the need for a holistic approach to address causes of suicide in the country.Accordingly, the Medical Director expressed shock at the alarming rate of increase in suicide cases, noting that it was a source of concern for stakeholders.
” Therefore,  governments, families, policy makers and organisations should  look at the causative factors of suicide with a view to addressing them”, he urged.

The Associate Professor of Psychiatry and a certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who emphasised the urgent need for more responsive collaboration,  further noted that suicide was 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 globalization.

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 exteem, academic and relationship failure, family discords can lead to suicide among young people.

” The rate of suicide incidence in Nigeria today is no doubt alarming and very disturbing which deserves more attention,” the Consultant Psychiatrist lamented.

Sale, a Master Trainer with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and focal person for training as well as an International Certified Addiction Professional (ICAP) hitherto said that mental health education was a necessary  tool to curb the rising tides of suicide in Nigeria and other life threatening acts occasioned by drug intakes and influence as well as socio-economic challenges to survival

Sale, however, admonished parents, teachers and guardians to train their teenagers on emotional management, adding ” let them be sensitised on the need to acquire skills to manage their emotions and psychological state of mind.” while urging the immediate need to live simple and less burdening life style on how to address challenges against their mental status.

While noting that government had role to play in collaboration with community groups with the sole responsibility of working together to prevent suicide, Sale appealed to Nigerians against  resorting  to negative alternatives by embracing measures of tackling same.

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