Lagos State government has expressed concern on the growing incidences of suicide attempts, saying it was poised to educate members of the public on suicide and common causes with a view to stemming the spate of suicides and suicidal attempts recorded in the state in the past few weeks.
The State’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, made this known at a press briefing on mental health to commemorate the year 2017 World Health Day with the theme “Depression: Let’s Talk”.
According to the commissioner, suicide could be committed by people of all ages, saying common causes, include the inability to deal with life stresses such as financial problems, relationship breakup, chronic pain and illness.
He said that individuals experiencing conflicts, disaster, violence, abuse or loss and a sense of isolation were strongly associated with suicidal behaviour.
Idris noted that suicide rates were also high amongst vulnerable groups who experienced discrimination such as refugees, migrants and prisoners, just as he said that depression tops the list of common causes of suicides.
According to him, depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration.
“Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease,” he said.
The commissioner, while saying that more women were affected by depression than men, posited that depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life.
He said this could have devastating consequences for families, friends, communities and workplaces.
Dr Idris stressed the need for coordination and collaboration amongst various sectors of the society, including health, education, labour, justice, law, politics and the media, explaining that people suffering from depression needed support to be courageous, come out to talk about it and shun the fear of stigmatization and discrimination.
He disclosed that the state government had set up help lines, including 08058820777 and 09030000741 through which residents can ask questions, make inquiries and seek help from professionals early enough to allow for appropriate intervention.
“I must stress that there are people available to help. So, ‘Let’s Talk if you are a student,’ ‘let’s Talk, if you are a parent,’ ‘let’s Talk, if you feel alone in the world,’ ‘Let’s Talk,” he said.
Also present at the press briefing were the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi; Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Atinuke Onayiga; Permanent Secretary, Health Service Commission, Dr. Jemilade Longe and Professor Abiodun Adewuya of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) amongst others.