Consultant Psychiatrist Calls for Massive Education on Suicide, Drug Abuse

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Ijarogbe, who works the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba in Lagos, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

 

The consultant psychiatrist said that the taboo associated with suicide was a hindrance to making progress in preventing suicide in Nigeria.

 

Ijarogbe identified stigma, cultural taboo and lack of awareness as some of the challenges facing prevention and control of suicide in Nigeria.

 

According to her, these factors need to be addressed urgently to stem the suicide rate.

 

“Previous prevalence of suicide in Nigeria is estimated to be about one in every 100,000 individuals.

 

“Although, it is observed that suicide is under-reported because of the current Nigerian laws that are punitive toward people who commit suicide and the stigma experienced by family members of persons who commit suicide.

 

“Many people are thinking of taking their lives or those who have attempted suicide are neither seeking nor getting the help they need, because of stigma and cultural taboo,’’ Ijarogbe said.

 

She noted that suicide and its prevention was inadequately addressed in the country due to lack of awareness as an important public health problem and the cultural taboo attributed to its public discussion.

 

“It is, therefore, important to raise massive public awareness about suicide to break down the taboos associated with it in order to make progress in preventing suicide in Nigeria,” she said.

 

The consultant psychiatrist also said that poor record-keeping, surveillance and monitoring of suicidal behaviours were challenges that needed to be addressed.

 

According to her, the current political will in the prevention of suicide is weak and almost none existing.

 

“More researches are needed to assess the patterns of suicide, change in the rates, characteristics and methods of suicide as this will also help to set up an achievable plan in suicide prevention.

 

“More importantly, government’s input is needed if any reasonable achievement is to be recorded in the prevention of suicide in Nigeria,” she said.

 

Contributing, Prof. Badru Fatai, a Psychiatric Nurse at the hospital, called for more education /orientation to change people’s perception toward the effects of drug abuse on human life.

 

Fatai said that drug abuse was a risk factor for suicide, depression and other mental health problems.

 

He said that there was a need for continuous rehabilitation of people involved in drugs.

 

Fatai said that engaging regulation or punishment of people involved in drugs or suicide might not go a long way in controlling drug abuse.

 

According to him, when people’s general perception and orientation about drugs are changed, it will have more positive impacts on society.

“Placing regulation on drugs is another means of checking drug abuse, but it may not go a long way.

 

“Because, when you regulate, you cannot follow people into their rooms and kitchens to regulate what they do with the drugs.

“But, if people’s mindset is educated and reoriented to realise that the drugs they are producing, selling or distributing will have a negative effect on human life.

 

“Therefore, desist from getting involved in such drugs, it will be better because if there is no production or supply for the drugs, there won’t be demand for them,” Fatai said.

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