WSPD: Nigeria urges stakeholders to collaborate in the fight against suicides

Edward Samuel, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has called on stakeholders collaboration to prevent suicide in the country.

READ ALSO: One person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally – Expert

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate who made the call in Abuja the nations capital in commemoration of the 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day said it is imperative for stakeholders to do all that is possible to prevent suicide.

The minister who was represented by a Director in the ministry, Mr. Adebayo Peters said the Good news is there are evidence based strategies which has been tested and proven.

“These include the following; Strengthening economic support, improve access to qualitative and affordable mental health services, creation of protective environment by reducing access to lethal means among people at risk of suicide, promote connectedness by peer norm program and community engagement, teach coping and problem solving skills, identify and support people at risk of suicide, lessen harm and prevent future risk and collation of data on suicidal behaviours to inform planning and intervention,” he said.

Prof. Pate said suicide has become a global problem of public health concern.

“According to WHO status report on suicide, more than 3000 people loss their life daily due to suicide, with one life being lost every 40 seconds, accounting for Over 800,000 deaths per year globally.”

He said, “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years, after road injury. It also accounts for 10%-20% of deaths in women up to one year after giving birth of which 86% of the people affected are in low and middle-income countries. For every suicide that is completed, it is estimated that more than 20 have been attempted.

“There is nothing good about suicide. For every suicide, the consequences extend beyond the loss of life to the families and communities affected by that loss. Many who have lost their loved ones to suicide never recovered from the devastating effect,” he added.

Prof. Pate said with the presidential assent to the national mental act 2021 would increase access to mental health services for all Nigerians and people living with mental issue to ensure their rights are protected and respected.

The National Coordinator, Mental Health Programme, FMoH, Dr. Tunde Ojo, said there are no locally generated data for mental health in Nigeria, however, the ministry is taking advantage of the STEP-survey for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) to develop internal data for Nigeria.

“Plans are underway for the implementation of the 2013 Suicide Prevention policy after it has undergone the validation cycle, but the implementation phase will be preceded by a roadmap that will help to guide the implementation for optimal results,” he said.

On tackling the 90% treatment gap, Dr. Tunde said, “Nigeria Government is integrating mental health into existing programmes and further strengthening psychiatric institutes to support treatment because no country has succeeded in its mental health campaign by closing down psychiatric institutes.
“The Word Day for the commemoration of Suicide Prevention is a great platform for us as stakeholders to be able to expand the conversation and we all know that in the past three years, it has been the same theme which is Creating Hope Through Action.”

Dr. Tunde therefore urged the Federal Ministry of Health to continuously engaged with stakeholders to be able to change the narratives about suicide prevention.

“We know that we as a country we have taken some very important steps to change the narrative about suicide prevention.”

The World Health Organisation, (WHO) Deputy Country Representative to Nigeria said, the World Health Assembly adopted the Mental Health Action Plan 2013 -2030 identified suicide prevention as an important priority for achieving the global target of reducing the rate of suicide in countries by 10%, by 2020.

Nigeria has shown commitment to this target by, among others; establishing the National Mental Health Programme in the Federal Ministry of Health to provide strategic leadership on mental health interventions including the implementation of the World Health Organization new National Mental Act 2021.

“I congratulate Nigeria for coming up with the new act and other countries are learning from Nigeria.

“As WHO we pledge to continue supporting the country to implement priority activities towards mental health including suicide prevention and control.

“Currently, WHO is supporting the development of the new National Mental Health Policy, development of a national framework for suicide prevention, development of Roadmap for implementation of the new National Mental Health Act and planning for commemoration of the 2023 World Mental Health Day,” he added.


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