Depression: No justification for suicide, psychiatrists educate Nigerians on coping mechanisms

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Some mental health practitioners say there are no life challenges to justify why any human being should commit suicide.

The practitioners made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

The practitioners, who expressed concerns about the spate of suicide in the country, said that suicide should not be an option for any kind of life’s challenges because challenges were part of life.

According to Dr Veronica Nyamali, National Vice-President, Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria (APN), life should also be seen from a mixed angle of good, sweet and bad.

Nyamali also expressed concern that there were a lot of challenges including economic downturns and hardships in Nigeria.

She said that it was unfortunate that some people considered suicide, resorted to drug abuse or engaged in immoral behaviour because of such challenges.

She urged Nigerians to take life easy and develop positive coping and adaptive mechanisms rather than considering negative thoughts like committing suicide when faced with challenges.

Proffering solutions, the psychiatrist called for mental health education to make people understand that life exists with challenges.

“Life can be good/sweet at one time and bad at other times.

“Since life is never free of challenges, so long there is life, there must be challenges.

“Therefore, there’s no amount of challenges that will worth anyone taking away his or her life.

“There is need to change the mindset of Nigerians toward life; making them to understand that life itself is full of challenges and the challenges are what will make way for the success stories,” she said.

She urged people to constantly surround themselves with positive people, sharing worries, speaking out and seeking for help as options that could help in time of challenges.

Also, Dr Maymunah Kadiri, a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, said that most people who commited suicide or attempted suicide could do that as a result of a mental health or psycho-social problem.

Kadiri, the Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services Ltd. listed the psycho-social problems to include anxiety, depression, hostility and hopelessness which exist at the individual level, among others.

She also listed the signs of depression to include sustained unhappiness, losing interest in those things that earlier interested one, having a feeling of consistent worthless and loss of appetite.

She added that one of the causes of suicide included increase in urban migration, which according to her, can cause an increase in psycho-social problems.

Kadiri said that suicide could be 100 per cent preventable since it was not a diagnosable disease.

According to her, there are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent suicide which include government interventions, reducing access to the means of suicide like pesticides, firearms and certain medications.

She said that early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorder could also be adopted to discourage suicide.

“Recently, I got the information of a man who jumped into the lagoon.

“Two weeks ago, I got the information of 14-year-old boy who drank sniper to kill himself but was rescued.

“Suicide cases are worrisome.

“Sometimes, when you ask the rescued victim if he wants to die, the answer will be ‘no’.

“That implies that there are some psycho-social problems that lured the person into committing suicide.

“It may be that the person is depressed, lost a loved one, fed up with life due to challenges or is financially or emotionally troubled.

“The federal and state governments should endeavour to have a programme that will allow people to talk about their health problems and other challenges of life that are daily confronting them which can serve as impetus to committing suicide.

“This will provide a means of helping those who might want to attempt suicide; but the best approach to combat suicide is to provide psychiatric help,” she said.

Contributing, the Pastor of Victory Holy Ghost Mission, Mrs Sophy Mbanisi, said there was no reason whatsoever that any human should take his or her  life or take the life of another person.

Mbanisi, said that it was only God who created human beings, that could give life and take life.

According to her, the Holy Bible explains clearly that life belongs to God and Him alone can put an end to it.

“Unfortunately, some people consider negative coping mechanism like suicide when faced with life challenges; from the biblical point of view, it is against the word of God to commit suicide.

“Biblically, anyone who commits suicide goes straight to the hell fire.

“Committing suicide also brings curse to the family of the perpetrator and his/her generation unborn.

“Irrespective of any kind of challenge people encounter in life, considering suicide should not be an option. Rather, hope unto God.

“According to the scripture, even if our sin is as dark as coal, in God, there is hope.

“Do not take laws into your hands to end your life no matter the situation,” Mbanisi said. 

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