The World Health Organization (WHO), has said that more people die each year from suicide than from HIV, malaria, breast cancer, or from war and homicide.
According to the WHO, globally, one in 100 deaths is by suicide, making it among the leading causes of death worldwide and the fourth leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds, after road traffic accidents, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence.
This perhaps was what compelled some stakeholders to gather in Yenagoa the Bayelsa State capital to discuss the issue of suicide as the world marks the 2021 World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme: Creating Hope Through Action.
The gathering organized by the Bayelsa Conversation Cafe drew participants, particularly young people, from various walks of life who sufficiently dissected the theme, highlighting the dangers of suicide.
Mr. Winner Bright, the Convener and popular content developer, said the overall idea of the programme was to raise awareness about suicide prevention worldwide which includes promoting stakeholder collaboration and self empowerment to address self-harm and suicide through preventive actions.
According to him “these can be achieved through capacity building of the healthcare providers and other relevant actors, positive and informative messaging aimed at the general population and at risk groups such as young people”.
Also, “facilitating open discussion on mental health at home, at school, in the workplace and those contemplating or affected by suicide are also encouraged to share their stories and seek professional help”, he said.
A lecturer in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Niger Delta University (NDU), Weni Kokinobo lgirigi explained the reasons for mental health and the causes of suicide.
“When we look at the issues of mental health we think of it as regards to suicide which is usually the result of the product of a prolonged mental issue. Generally, mental health ranges from issues around anxiety to depression or sadness.
“There are different tools that can be used to test the state of mental health of an individual, like the Beck depression index, it contains cards of 6 to 8 questions while, the Beck depression inventory has 21 questions for the individual to answer, these questions are centered around hopelessness, sadness, self-criticism, crying and suicide, all these are variables used to check the state of mental health of an individual.
“This index helps to show if the individual is going through a mild disturbance, borderline depression, moderate or severe depression or extreme depression.
“A research shows that more men carried out their suicide attempt than women while the rate of depression is higher among women.
“The society we live in has created a standard for men which makes them feel like if they share their feelings they are tagged weak, if people stop seeing things that way it will help people to speak up more. The best way forward is to create a space where people can go to discuss these suicide thoughts”, he advised.
Other speakers like, Harry Porbeni, a business development strategist, Inetsol Eyal Oru, a Content developer and script writer and Burutolu Augustine, a leadership coach, talked about self-discovery, self esteem and pressure as the three things that play a significant role on how a person’s mentality is built and how it functions.
They noted that people who go through mental health disorders and move to the level of suicide are people that have self awareness/self esteem but still pass through the difficulty of mental health and suicidal thoughts and advised people to check on their family and friends to know how they are doing.
Manager, Bayelsa Tech Hub, Asieri Odusi in his remarks tasked family members, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and government to take action to prevent suicide in Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region.
The World Suicide Prevention Day ( WSPD) is celebrated annually on September 10, by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization ( WHO).
The event represents a global commitment to focus attention on suicide prevention and this year’s theme reflects the need for collective action to address suicide as an urgent public health issue.