321 views | Zeenat Sambo | April 18, 2021
Every year there is an increase in the number of people that takes their lives in Nigeria. Unfortunately, improper records are kept and some victims do not reveal their reasons for their actions. However, it is sad but true, to say that there are more people seeking to attempt suicide. In Nigeria, it is no longer news to hear people committing suicide but with the increasing suicide rate in our societies it is imperative we address issues and seek a lasting solution for the present and future generations.
In the analysis of World Health Organization, 264 Nigerians have committed suicide in the last 4 years and it is predicted that in 2020 more people will take their lives. According to World Health Organization’s report, 1 person commits suicide every 40 seconds in the world.
There are numerous reasons for suicide. In a country like Nigeria the downturn of economic activities, has greatly affected the standard of living for the average Nigerian and this in turn has greatly impacted their mental health negatively.
Depression is one of the numerous causes of suicide and it is a very wide topic which unfortunately does not get the awareness and sympathy it ought to get from the public. Mood swings, stress which results from everyday challenges and short lived emotional upheaval should not be termed as depression. Depression is a mental disorder which results to some disabilities if not managed. With about 264 million people suffering from it in the world, it has no age, sex or racial barrier.
In a nutshell, depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest over a period of time, which is triggered by an event or unresolved issues overtime. Feelings of loneliness, helplessness, too little or much sleep, loss of energy, difficulty in accepting initial conditions, lack of concentration, frustration which wouldn’t go away and thought of escaping it all through suicide are some of the symptoms of depression. It is also important to state that people who suffer from depression are most times able bodied individuals whose mental health has been compromised.
As odd as it may sound it is normal to feel low once in a while but once some unpleasant issues arises and you are unable to rise above the fear and sadness for a long time and begins to affect your daily life then there could be a chance of depression. Depression can be as result of unusual cumulative events and can be hereditary. Clinical depression which is one of the major depressions is a mental health syndrome considered by persistent depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Also, combinations of biological, psychological and social sources of distress could be the possible causes of it. Not everyone is aware of how to observe these causes or what to do, it is important to study your daily activities and changes. Once you notice any of these symptoms and they persist for a long time, do seek help from a trained medical Psychologist.
Persistent depressive disorders, clinical depression, bipolar disorder amongst others are some of the types of depression that are common in human. Bipolar disorder tends to be one of the most challenging depressions that need awareness in every society. According to research more than 1.5 million cases per year in Nigeria and people with it have higher tendency to commit suicide because they lack the requisite information to enable them function properly. Many people who have bipolar disorder are not aware and resort to substance abuse to relieve them of their condition.
According to “Drug Use in Nigeria 2018” of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, in Nigeria, there is a reported case of over 10.6 million cannabis users, with 1 in every 5 users being dependent and 1 in every 4 drug users being a woman. With growing number of drug users, it is not uncommon to find innovative zealous minds with zero tolerance for drugs”.
Also,the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on the 21 August 2020, was reported that Single ladies will undergo drug tests before Marriage. The NDLEA Chairman Mohammed Mustapha Abdallah on 21st August 2020, in his statement of illicit drug in Nigeria states that “As an extension of the proposed Drugs Integrity Test Policy in the public service, We can no longer remain indifferent to the problems and refused to take responsibility in an effort to control drugs, we must come to term that drugs issue is a shared responsibility for all in the society”.
It is no news that people resort to drugs, but the extent at which it has become the new norm is alarming. Having 10.8 million people consume illicit drug is a worrisome figure in Nigeria society. Most of the reasons people depend on drugs is primarily because of depression which was caused by economic down turn, financial crisis, poverty, political instability, climate change, emotional abuse, fear of the unknown and so on. This has caused untold social and psychological challenges to many Nigerians. Analyzing it has so far not been effected. Even knowing this has negative health implications, does not serve as a deterrent and this in itself is troubling.
Along with organizing programs for the prevention of drug use NDLEA should create proper awareness on depression. It is necessary to treat depression as a common enemy who needs to be put down. It is more dangerous, when a person with depressive hereditary family blood line is unaware of its dangers to sit idly without consulting a psychologist or counselor for help. Many believe that consulting a psychologist indirectly means the person has mental illness, this is untrue and should be frowned at. Seeking help from a counselor has not been greatly encouraged but if you have access to one, then you should contact or visit whenever you are depressed.
There should be accessible counseling outlet to help address numerous cases of depression. Dispensary houses, hospitals, and at least every organization should enhance their guidance and counseling unit to spread awareness and help address issues. Depression prevention involves the positive engagement of children, youth and adults with their families, schools, workplace and community.
Religious institutions are known over the years to key into counseling especially in marriages. In furthering the mental balance of the society, religious outlets should help develop their counseling strategies in helping people resolve their inner most battle they struggle with daily. It is rightly believed that divine guidance, belief and supplication help to reduce depression, but it is still important to seek for guidance in some extreme situations.
De-stigmatize mental health issues, it is important that people with mental health challenges can find a safe space to talk about their issues without fear of judgment and reproach from the public, this would encourage more people to seek help rather than relying on harmful substances to escape their reality.
Furthermore, maximize utilization of resources for effective and prevention intervention should be enhanced to curtail the act of suicide. Depression should not be down played and in more years to come if proper awareness is not created and spread, we might have populace struggling with different issues they do not understand and this can cause irreparable damage to our society. We can support, educated, inform and show love to those deeply involved. God bless Nigeria.