Group Seeks Increased Awareness To Reduce Suicide Rate

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Lagos

A suicide prevention organisation, Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), has called for collaborative efforts of all stakeholders toward creating more awareness about suicide.

Ms Titi Tade, the Training Coordinator of the Initiative, made the call at the 2023 National Conference of SURPIN organised in commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on Monday in Lagos.

Abuja365 reports that WSPD is marked annually on Sept. 10 to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.The conference had the theme: “Sharing Experiences”.

Tade said it was imperative that more efforts should be geared toward awareness campaigns about suicide in order to reduce it.According to her, all the stakeholders including – the family, government, institutions, organisations – should continually talk about suicide and intervention measures until remarkable success is made in the fight against suicide.She said that stakeholders should also make concerted efforts to promote a change in societal perception of suicidal tendencies and mental health issues in general.

Tade said there was evidence that public awareness campaigns for suicide prevention would not only reduce stigma, but would also increase help-seeking behaviour and highlight effective treatments and support services. “To achieve the goal of reducing suicide in Nigeria, there is need to create more awareness about the menace so that the public will be more informed. “The society have to continually talk about suicide, because suicide is real and it is very much with us. “The World Health Organisation stated that in every 40 seconds, somebody somewhere is killing himself and for every completed suicide, there are about 20 other attempts at suicide. “Therefore, greater efforts should be made to combat the persisting stigmatising attitudes displayed toward mental disorders and suicide itself,” she said.

Tade also said that SURPIN had launched a toll-free hotline – 0800 078 7746 – through which people with mental health challenges could contact counsellors or therapists for help.“SURPIN hotline numbers now include a toll-free number and it is available to anyone in Nigeria and even beyond. “It has saved many people in crisis through phone counselling and linking them to mental health services nearest to their locations,” she said.Dr Babatunde Fadipe, a Consultant Psychiatrist and member of SURPIN, advised that people should learn to seek help and share experiences when faced with challenges to avert suicide tendencies.

Fadipe said that there was the need for people to associate with others either in churches, community meetings, social gatherings or anywhere they could meet and share experiences.

According to him, SURPIN believes that one way it can create hope is by bringing people to share their stories for others to learn from.“People should be encouraged to meet others and talk to them about their experiences, especially those of the same age bracket or those that are older who can relate with them on some of the things they have passed through in life. “It is obvious that some participants at this conference have learnt one or two things from the experiences the suicide survivors shared here today,” he said.

Mr David Folaranmi, a suicide survivor, said that strong support systems were needed to save someone having suicidal tendencies and mental health challenges.Folaranmi said that the support he got from his family members and other loved ones facilitated his recovery from mental health and drug addition challenges. According to him, he suffered drug addition and mental ill-health which made him to attempt suicide.“One needs a strong support system to be able to come out of mental illness. “When I struggled with mental illness and even when I attempted suicide and was rushed to a hospital, it was my parents, other family members and religious leaders that helped me come out of it because they were readily available to rally around me, giving me all the needed care and support,” Folaranmi said.

Mrs Oluwakemi Famugbode, another suicide survivor, said that depression was the commonest mental health condition that could push an individual to attempt suicide. Famugbode said that she suffered depression for long due to her husband’s death. According to her, it is music and the love she had for her children that withdrew her from ending her life with a bottle of Sniper which she had already opened. Famugbode said, “I suffered depression after the death of my husband.“ Life generally became uninteresting to me, nothing gave me joy, to sleep was hard for me, I even lost appetite for food, ”She said that the symptoms continued to a point that she started destroying her late husband’s pictures and everything that had to do with him. “I hated everybody that came around me. “One day, I was looking for how to kill myself and end all the things troubling my life. “I picked up a bottle of Sniper and was about to drink, but, on a second thought, I remembered my children and dropped the Sniper,” Famugbode added.

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