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Abdul Fatah Ilyas
A mental health expert and a mental health advocate, Doctor Peter Ogunubi has attributed rise in the cases of suicide to the high level of poverty ,political instability and COVID-19 pandemic among others .
The mental health expert said the recent statistics that states that Nigeria recorded 51 suicide cases in a year could be underestimated .
Speaking on the flagship programme “Panorama on Splash 106.7 fm Abeokuta , Sonubi said many factors contributed to suicide rate in Nigeria .
He explained “it is a reflection of poverty, stress, marital instability.and insurgency.”
Others, according to him, are unemployment, economic disarray, political instability, talk of this financial problem, COBID-19 pandemic, all these have contributed to suicide rate in Nigeria and to the global world.
His words “But when you tell yourself that you are in a land flowing with milk and honey, a land fill with opportunities, where the wealth of the Nation have been corner by few. That alone can prompt anyone to suicidality.
“it is also important for us to know that it’s unusual for a graduate to be driving or to be riding Keke Napeb or bicycle or trycicle and think that person will be ok.
” It is unusual for any country not to have ordinary power supply or provision of good roads, social amenities, health care for its people.
“So, you will agree with me that we are facing unusual situation, a peculiar situation. We are like the proverbial cloth sellers that her children are wearing rags, we are like the provebial chairman of abattoir that his children are eating bones.
“And that’s one of the reasons why I said that when we compare suicide in Nigeria to other suicide in other countries, the reason why we will have high number here is not far fetched.
“Dont forget about numbers and dont forget about the peculiar situation, insurgency. You will hear that Nigeria is one of the most terrorised nations in the world.
” How can people not be suicidal in a nation where you do not sleep with your two eyes closed ?,
” Anation where you can be kidnapped anytime and people will be asking for ransom.
“Basic thing is not here, good amenities are not here, good food, health, you can not compare it to other part of the world. Even though they all have their own challenges as well.”
Speaking on the statement that more people every year die of a suicide than HIV, Malaria, breast cancer or even war, the expert said the situation is like playing ostrich .
According to him , suicide is a mental health issue. Mental health issues are not given piority in this country.
He said ” Mental health bill has not been passed for many years. All we are using is the mental health lunancy Act of 1968. Over the successive years, National Assemblies have come in and gone and we are in the 9th session and this bill has not been passed.
“This is a bill that will address issue of suicide prevention, this is a bill that has a very good robust plan for those going through emotional illness in terms of stigmatizing, provision of affordable drugs, creation of more facilities to take care of mental health and not the mental health lunancy act that says if a patient is I’ll, the parent should sell all his properties and should use it to take care of himself .
“So, because of low awareness of mental health, because of non passage of mental health bill, because of stigmatization that is still rampant, people dont come for help, we do not appreciate psychological issue.
“We will rather take people that has malaria, that has fever to hospital. But when somebody is depressed, see him hopeless, helpless, worthless. All we say is come on feet, be a man, real men dont cry.
“So, because of the lack of awareness, because of the stigmatization, because of government attitude towards mental health, that’s why we are having what we are having now.
“And I believe just as the topic of the World Suicide Prevention is taking an action hopeful action, it is important that government all over across the globe. Federal, State and Co. can actually do something and we will not have this gory pictures..”