Dr Taiwo Sheikh, National President, Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria (APN), has blamed the high incidents of suicide on the lack of prevention strategies and programmes in the country.
Sheikh said this at the the Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) annual Symposium in Lagos, with the theme ‘Rising Incidents of Suicide, the Way Out’.
He said that suicide was the second leading cause of death especially among the youth, saying it is sad that government has not prioritise any form of intervention programme to prevent the trend.
According to him, for every death by suicide, 20 to 25 more have been attempted same.
“Since the year 2000, national prevention strategies have been established in 28 countries of the world and there had been decline in suicide rate in those countries.
“In Europe, they have 13 programmes, America has eight, Western Pacific has five, South East Asia has two programmes while in African and Nigeria, we have zero intervention programmes.
“So, you can understand why suicide rate is on the increase here in our country. It is declining in those places because they have put certain things in place.
“Like in Europe, they have blocked access to the different means of suicide such as changing the design of their bridges so people don’t go and jump to death, America is blocking access to firearms and harmful medications too.
“Here in Nigeria nothing is being done to prevent suicide, rather we are talking about banning the sale of ‘Snipper’ , ” he said.
Sheikh said APN was in collaboration with the Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), to drive community awareness programmes and provide social support in the country.
“We also do online and telephone counseling, as well as training of healthcare practitioners on how to provide support.
“People who engage in suicide do it to solve a problem but not to die. We believe that if there was help in terms of social help, they will not carry out suicide.
“The government should also work on improving our health system because a very good health system will put in place prevention strategies that will respond swiftly and adequately to cases of suicide in the country, “Sheikh said.
Also speaking, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Health, promised that the state government would double effort to provide quality healthcare for residents to boost their mental well-being.
In her remarks, Mrs Chioma Obinna, President, Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) promised that the media would continue to hold government accountable via objective and factual reporting.