So, yesterday the former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar expressed his concern over the disturbing spike in suicide rate among Nigerian youths. He took to his twitter handle @atiku and tweeted,
“The rate of suicide among our youth is worrisome. I believe that as parents and community, we need to pay close attention for early signs of depression”.
There is no doubt that the rate at which Nigerian youths take their lives these days is very much alarming. Just eight days ago, it was reported that a 400 level University of Nigeria Nsukka Student, Chukwuemeka Akachi committed suicide. He slipped into coma after taking two bottles of “Sniper”, an insecticide. Aside the fact that he left a suicide note, prior to his death, he had been making some emotional and depressing posts on his Facebook wall.
This gets me wondering, “If this dude has been making depressing posts on his Facebook wall, how come none of his friends was sensitive enough to keep in touch?”
The problem with we Nigerians is that we trivialize depression a lot. We forget that depression is more than just a sickness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks. And because of how light we take this depression issue, anyone going through that phase finds it very difficult to open up because it’s either he or she is laughed at or whoever they are opening up to shuts them up by that they are not the only people having it rough in life.
A friend asked me the other day, “How do you know that someone is actually depressed?” because a lot of times, we tend to hide our tears and pain from the crowd by smiling. Oh well, if you are having a hard time figuring out if someone is actually depressed, below are some of the symptoms to look out for:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Anger or irritability
- Loss of energy
- Self loathing and concentration problems.
In considering how we can rescue and save suicidal persons, the first step we should all take is recognizing the warning signs and take them serious. A friend updates his or her status saying something like, “I am tired. I feel like disappearing from this world to somewhere more peaceful” “We would all die someday so why the struggle?” “Death is the only way out”, “The world would be a better place when I am out of the picture” we should be quick to notice these signs and take them serious. Don’t just shrug it off and think the person is seeking for attention; most times these statements are not empty threats or a cheap attempt at seeking for attention.
Just as Atiku said earlier, “…as parents and community, we need to pay close attention for early signs of depression”.