Some mental health experts have identified societal pressure, among others, as a major cause of suicide in Nigeria.

They urged members of society to be kinder to persons showing signs of depression and other mental illnesses so as not to lead them to suicide.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had revealed that Nigeria has the highest suicidal rate among African countries with over 17, 000 lives lost to suicide in a year.

In 2022 alone, there have been multiple reports of suicides in Nigeria. Investigations have shown that there has been an upsurge in suicide, especially among young people in the last 24 months.

Reports reviewed by Sunday PUNCH showed that no fewer than 74 persons died by suicide within the period under review.

Reacting, a senior lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Dr Johnbosco Chukworji, said the economic situation in the country has pushed a lot of youths below the poverty line.

According to him, this has made many youths confused and depressed, noting that these feelings may culminate in suicidal thoughts if not handled properly.

“The economy of the country is a major factor. There is poverty in the land and this has caused a lot of people to be confused about life. Sadness, which may compound into depression, is the case if left uncontrolled.”

“Society is also not helping with the many pressures on every side. Many youths are under so much pressure to make money quickly. Social media is not helping. I feel that society should be kinder to these youths.”

“When they begin to show signs of depression and suicide, family members should draw them close and show them love. Society should be more accepting and individuals who suspect any of these signs and symptoms listed above should visit any of the many psychotherapists that are in Nigeria and run an assessment for as little money as one can use to get lunch,” Chukworji added.

A senior psychologist and researcher at Remz Institute, Uyo, Awka Ibom State, Usen Essien, on his part, said due to low awareness of mental health issues in Nigeria, stigma had become a problem for people battling depression.

“Battling depression in Nigeria is not easy at all. There are a lot of dimensions to it. Apart from the financial dimensions, there is the social dimension that deals with stigma.”

“When these individuals suffering from the condition go seeking help, they do not go to the right person. They begin by going to see a general medical practitioner or a religious leader who may not have the right answers. Everyone needs to help people living with mental illness heal by reducing the pressure and demands on others around them,” he added.

@ Punch Newspaper

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