It was another mournful day for the people of Etegwe, a suburb of Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, early this week, as a 45 year-old man said to have hailed from Enugu State, ended his life in a bid to escape life challenges.
The middle-age man, identified as Oliver Osieme, reportedly hung himself inside his room in the community.
According to report, the deceased, a tipper truck driver, committed the act in an apartment owned by a lady he was cohabiting with, who also hails from Enugu State.
A teenage girl, who was living with him and his partner, revealed that the deceased had not been on the road for some time owing to the fact that his tipper truck had been bad for a while.
The unfortunate end of Oliver is just one of the everyday cases of people taking their own lives to put a stop to life’s troubles.
On the 6th of April, 2019, a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, took his own life after failing to achieve his dream of completing his Ph.D programme, at the chargrin of many.
Similarly, a 100-level student of Kogi State University, Ayingba, also died by suicide after she was reportedly abandoned by her boyfriend on April 19, 2019 after taking Sniper, a pesticide.
As if that was not enough, on 29th April, it was reported that another undergraduate, a 100-level student of Chemical Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ended his life after drinking two bottles of Sniper.
Within the same period, an 18-year-old was also found dead in her room in Aluu, one of the host communities of UNIPORT with bottles of insecticide and Snipper lying by her side.
On 4th May 2019, a 26-year-old hairdresser in Lagos ended her life after her boyfriend of two years jilted her.
It was the turn of another undergraduate to call it the end on May 13th, 2019, but fortunately for the student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he was rescued from from the jaw of death.
More troubling was the baffling case of suicide which occurred on May 14th, 2019, involving a member of one of the new generation Churches in Lagos, who reportedly took his life over the issues he was having with his accommodation.
On the 15th May 2019 in Jos, it was reported that a 17-year-old , was reported took Sniper to end his life after he learnt that he had failed the 2019 University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The following day, news had it that a third year Physics/Astronomy undergraduate, also of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was found dead in an uncompleted building in the school, with his body dangling.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria now ranks among the top suicide prone countries in the annual estimated figure of 800,000 deaths by suicide. According to the World Population Review, the country has crude suicide rate of 9.5 per 000 population ranks 10th in Africa and 67th in the world.
Some of the risk factors according to experts, include economic hardship, terminal illnesses, depression and stress.
To put to an end the rising cases of suicide in the country, we need to rebuild our social network. Most people end their lives by suicide because they don’t have a social mechanism to relate with. We shouldn’t be too urbanised to the extent of abandoning the traditional family support system.
The government at all levels should, just like it’s done in other parts of the world, establish social services where people can make contact with face-to-face socio services. This will go a long way in assisting people with challenges to discuss their challenges with people who may be of help instead of bottling everything up.
Substance abuse should be discouraged. Study shows that youth within the ages of 18 to 35 years are the most vulnerable to substance abuse in the country. The implication of not addressing the issue of drug will be frustration for the abusers, which may lead to suicide in the long run.
Also, mental health issues should not be seen as a thaboo. We call on government at all levels and the civil society organizations to engage in campaigns and sensitization on mental ailment. Today, depression is high among people with mental health issues, because many don’t want their neighbors to know about it.
We encourage President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly to speedy the passage and signing of the Mental Health Bill into law , to protect mentally ill persons, protect care givers, establish nature of care someone can render to mentally ill person and also define who is responsible for funding, treatment among others.
People experiencing depression should should be encouraged to engage in regular physical exercise, visit relaxation centres, go to movies and engage in religious activities. This will help to provide solace and comfort for them.
Furthermore, we admonish people in the media to avoid the sensationalization of suicide report, so as not to avoid playing back the thought of it in the mind of those who have attempted it before.
We believe that if all these measures are taken, there is a possibility that the cases of suicide in the country will drop.