Sadly, what is trending in the social media space of recent, are several cases of suicide in which most of the victims
are youths. Suicide has long prevailed in the country but its increase has been quite alarming. Before we get right into mechanisms that both the government and individual can use to fight this menace, let’s discuss factors that lead youths to take the endangering action.
OPERA NEWS, in an interview with a Psychologist, Mrs. Imabong Ladipo-Sanusi, she highlighted several reasons which include: economic realities, the clash between the real and the ideal situation, self-actualization, family disconnect, among others. According to her, families are disintegrated and the extended family is non-existent as a result of the hustle and bustle of life, leaving children and wards without care or attention hence creating a “sense of hopelessness and loneliness.”
She disclosed that there is an inherent value system that has this unwritten saying “just do anything to make it” and
when it doesn’t work out, people become depressed and suicidal. For her, social media has a part to play in the increased rate of suicide, noting that youths generally have a kind of image they are trying to put to the larger society, one which has “a perfect magazine lifestyle on social media whereas the reality is not the same.” Also, there is a social expectation. She explains: “You have not married at 30? By 40, you are still searching, you can’t build a house.”
On the way forward, the psychological expert gave the following tips:
1) Stress management: Mrs. Ladipo-Sanusi pointed out that stress is normal but “you have to manage stress.”
2) Diet: Amazing! Who would have ever thought that a proper diet is one of the tools use to curb suicide. Imabong explained: “We don’t have time to you know to eat well. We just pick junk and stuff it down our throats. It is affecting
an organ in your body. And we some of us depend on supplements, on drugs and on artificial things. Those things also have this kind of mood issue. Some of the things we take the affect our mood. There are some drugs that excite you and also make you depressed. Even, ordinary cough syrup can slow you down. You see are feeling sleepy or drowsy. Depression has to do with lowness of emotion. Let’s eat real food.”
3) Quality family time: The Psychological expert canvassed for a reconnection among family members while spending less time on the virtual world. “Let’s have time for our family”, she appealed.
4) Walk and pursue happiness: Ladipo-Sanusi counselled people to take evening strolls which will help relieve one’s mind. Also, they should get engaged in things that make one happy and find someone with a similar passion who can keep motivating them.
5) Speak out: This appears to be the most important of all. She advised that people should learn to speak out and people, in turn, should be willing to listen. She proposed theory sessions, consultations with religious leaders, specialised training for schools, etc. “When you hear another person’s story, you get to strengthen yourself in group support and therapy. It is good to talk to somebody”, she stated.
6) Government input: She advised the government to take up campaigns and awareness, create signposts with motivating inscriptions, provision of call lines, construct barricades on bridges, sponsor legislation on mental health, among others.
7) Sanction: Do you know attempted suicide is a crime? According to section 327 of the Criminal code act, anyone who attempts suicide is liable to imprisonment for one year. The psychological expert thinks the sanction should be maintained because it will help “put us on the edge. So you will know that it is a crime and is not allowed in the country.”