Suicide Prevention Day: NGO calls for strategies to promote mental health

By Olasunkanmi Onifade

Abuja – Trauma Awareness and Resilience (TAR) Initiative, an NGO, has called for the implementation of strategies at the national and community levels for promotion of mental health.

The National Coordinator, Onyekwue Francis said this on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja to commemorate the World Suicide Prevention Day.

The theme seeks to highlight the importance of various sectors working in harmony to prevent and solve this problem.

According to him, Government, corporate bodies, NGOs, and churches and everyone should come on board in developing a community based outreach programme, targeting community people, if possible with their local dialect, in promoting mental health.

He said that suicide is such a complex problem to prevent, it involve huge collaborative and comprehensive efforts between various sectors of the society, such as the government, education, law, and media.

“It is now obvious that suicide is a major concern and a grave public health problem that has awful detrimental effects on individuals, families, and communities as a whole and this day aims to spread awareness on how to arrest this ugly situation.

“Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.

“It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds,” Francis said.

He said that every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague.

Francis said that for each suicide, appropriately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.

He said it amounts to 108 million people per year, who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.

“Suicidal behaviour includes: suicide and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

“According to World Health Organisation (WHO), for every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.

“The good news is that suicide is preventable. There are two major ways of preventing suicide and these are factors that can reduce the risk and increase factors that promote resilience and coping mechanism,” Francis said.

He, however, encourage people under depression to seek help from a psychologist or call a crisis helpline, adding that there are warning signs.

Francis said that some of the warning signs are extreme mood swings, talking about suicide, massive withdrawal from social life and other people, and extreme self-loathing as well as self-hatred.

“Don’t be afraid to ask a person whom you suspect is suicidal. Subsequently, listen to them and get appropriate help for them by meeting their needs.

“There is also school base interventions, such as; teach, coping and resilience-building in school.

“This World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s pledge to do our best to ensure that deaths due to suicide are reduced to zero,” he said.

Francis called for the need to adopt the 3C’S approach, which are to connect, communicate and care for those with suicidal behaviour.

He also said there should be follow-up and adequate care for people, who attempted suicide and making provision of community based support is very apt.

NAN reports that since 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed each year on Sept. 10, with various activities around the world, which seeks to raise awareness about the fact that suicide can be prevented.

The day was set aside to highlight what individuals, families, and communities can do to prevent it. (NAN)


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