How to avert suicide–Psychologist

Orji, recently committed suicide

By Okeoghene Oghenekaro

A Clinical Psychologist, Mr Adedotun Ajiboye, has advised relations, friends and colleagues of persons suffering from depression to be extra vigilant to avert incidents of suicide.

Ajiboye, who works at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

He spoke against the backdrop of rising incidents of suicide across the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its recent reports said that 800,000 people commit suicide every year across the world.

WHO also said in the report that depression was also the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people, majority of them women, young people and the elderly.

A Lagos-based medical doctor, Dr Allwell Orji, took his life on Sunday by jumping off the Third Mainland Bridge into the Lagoon.

Orji had ordered his driver to park while on the bridge in order to ease himself.

Ajiboye explained that people who suffered depression had the tendency to become suicidal.

He identified terminal medical condition, poverty, loss of a loved one or loss of money as other factors that often lead a person to depression and become suicidal.

The psychologist called for proper monitoring of behaviour of persons with depression in addition to taking them to see a psychiatrist who would prescribe anti-depressant drugs and follow up on such patients.

Ajiboye also advised that harmful objects such as knives should be kept away from people suffering from depression.

He advised that people should be their brother’s keepers, especially in the religious circles, saying that they should have welfare packages for people in these times of economic hardship.

“People are passing through a lot of tough times and they may not want to share their experiences, so religious leaders must learn to engage people.

“We must call our loved ones regularly to check on their welfare and see how we can be of assistance, you do not know if that call will just save a life,’’ the psychologist said.

He also advised people who were faced with some challenges to learn to share their problems, saying “a problem shared is a problem half solved”.

Ajiboye explained that unstable mental condition was one of the factors that could make an individual to be prone to committing suicide.

According to him, suicide is the process of purposely ending one’s life.

“The person has determined already to kill himself which is quite different from someone who hears a voice telling him to jump into the lagoon or to strip naked.

“We have what we call auditory hallucination where someone hears a voice saying remove your clothes or jump into the lagoon and the person obeys, that person may have a psychosis condition.

“Also, the person maybe experiencing visual hallucination, where only the person sees people or things that want to harm him and to escape, jump out of a vehicle, or jump in front of a moving vehicle.

“All these must be established before you can arrive at a conclusion,” Ajiboye said.