September 10 of every year is known to be the World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). This serves as a platform for increasing awareness about suicide behaviors and promoting it’s preventive measures. Since it’s inception in 2003 organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), this day have been observed internationally by numerous countries. This involves hosting events and activities including conferences, seminars, and discussion forums, and formulating new policies for suicide prevention.
This year’s theme “Creating Hope Through Action” expresses the need for awareness of an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light. It pictures the possibility of suicide prevention through an action – through action, you can make a difference in someone during their darkest moments. A lot of factors and certain life events are responsible for subjecting someone to be vulnerable to suicide and mental health conditions, for this, it is expected that we help give them hope by showing that we care.
Death by suicide is an extremely complex issue that causes pain to hundreds of thousands of people every year around the world. WHO and the Global Burden of Disease study estimate that almost 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That is, one person every 40 seconds. The frequency of suicide among males is more than that of females. According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources, Nigeria’s suicide mortality rate (per 100,000 population) is 3.5%.
Narrowing the contributing factors of suicide that are related to sexual and reproductive health; people who have been sexually assaulted often experience behavioral and emotional issues that may lead to suicide and are more likely to be medically treated for an injury related suicide attempt. Sexual assault often results in mental health issues related to suicide risks including;
- Major depressive episodes
- Post – Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
Another contributing factor is Obstetric fistula. A number of undesirable features are known to manifest when a woman develop this disease condition, ranging from stigmatization, social ostracism and isolation due to the odor of urine/feces leaking from the vagina.
As we mark this year’s celebration, we should bear in mind that suicide is preventable through efforts made at individual, community and society level. Furthermore, governments should set up physical facilities where depressed persons visit for rehabilitative services.
Written by Favour Christiana Ogbuagu (Programs Assistant).