Suicide is a global phenomenon and is the act of ending one’s life in such a manner that the process is achieved in a planned or deliberate way, logically and methodically. Suicide is one of the biggest threats in the 21st century. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 2021, more than seven hundred thousand people die globally every year from suicide action.
Also, for every suicide committed, there have been at least twenty suicide attempts. In 2017, 1.4% of the global mortality cases were attributed to suicide, while in some countries the rate goes up as high as 5%. Suicide is considered the 10th leading cause of death in the United States of America, with approximately forty-seven thousand Americans losing their lives each year as a result of suicide.
In Africa, the suicide rate is relatively low compared to other parts of the world. However, the low rate in the continent is said to be on the rise lately which is a growing concern. Although the suicide rate is low compared to other parts of the world, it is attributed to unreported or underreported cases of suicide in the continent.
Africa accounts for about thirty-four thousand (34000) global suicide cases annually. Countries accounting for the highest suicide rates in Africa include Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Seychelles, Malawi, and Burundi.
According to researchers, approximately eighty-five people committed suicide in 2019 alone, rising from seventy-nine cases in the previous year, 2018. It sounds like a joke, but it is a more serious endemic than one can imagine.
In 2016 Nigeria was ranked as one of the countries with the highest suicide rates in Africa by WHO.
Concerning the reports above, one may be compelled to ask why people commit suicide. Whether one believes it or not there is always a reason for every action and so it is with suicidal victims.
Reasons uncovered among suicidal people include:
- Depression, stress and anxiety.
- Mental health disorder.
- Withdrawal from people, overthinking, low self-esteem and so on.
Some preventive ways suggested by experts to address or reduce suicidal tendencies among people include:
- Supporting them by being around them – being there for them, showing an act of kindness towards them and spending quality time with them.
- Addressing their mental health issues through the help of mental health experts or healthcare professionals to treat them.
Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa is a diverse country facing several challenges such as youth unemployment, insecurity, poor governance and corruption. All these factors, among many, can be the causes of suicides among youth, adults, and workers.
This evokes the recent case of late Mrs Folake Abiola, an accountant whose suicide action was a result of depression she had been dealing with for years. A colleague of hers revealed she showed suicidal tendencies, but no attention was given to the impending indicators of her mental health until her death. The tragedy would have been avoided if care was taken and her mental problem was addressed.
In conclusion, the epidemic of suicide is a global social phenomenon that calls for attention, it is here, there and everywhere with Nigeria as one of the African epicentres of suicide menace. This strongly suggests that there is a dire need to create awareness of the menace of suicide and how to prevent it for the greater good of humanity.