Unilorin tackles suicide prevalence on campus

UNILORIN gate used to illustrate the story.
UNILORIN gate used to illustrate the story.

The Suicide Prevention and Research Initiative Nigeria (SURPIN), a brain-child of the University of Ilorin (Unilorin), Behavioural Sciences Department, has embarked on an awareness campaign on suicide prevention across the institution.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the campaign sidelines on Thursday, Oluwabunmi Buhari said the initiative was to encourage people to seek help on mental health issues.

Ms Buhari, who is of the Department of Behavioural Sciences, Unilorin, said the campaign also aimed at creating awareness among the people on the prevalence of mental health issues in the country.

According to her, the initiative is a collaboration between SURPIN, Life Foundation Impact for Eternity, and Mental Awareness Nigeria Initiative.

Ms Buhari explained that the enlightenment campaign was geared towards helping to improve the mental well-being of people by encouraging improved social connections, physical exercises, eating of balanced meals and having good sleep.

“Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide in the world, and about 20 million to 25 million people attempt suicide yearly.

“Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in those between the ages of 15 years and 29 years,’’ she said.

The expert appealed to people to listen to others, who might be having hard times and not be judgmental.

“That you successfully scaled the same hurdle without help from people doesn’t mean other people’s problems are not serious.

“Do not stigmatise them or their challenges, no matter how awkward they seem,’’ Buhari stressed.

She warned against leaving anybody contemplating suicide alone at any point in time because the next few seconds without help might be too late.

Ms Buhari urged students and the public to reach out to the Department of Behavioural Sciences, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Oke-Ose, for help with mental health issues.

Also, Ayo Omotoso of the Department of Behavioural Sciences, Unilorin, explained that for the past three years, the suicide rate in the country had steadily increased.

Mr Omotoso listed some of the reasons behind the increase in suicide to include bio-psychosocial reasons, social media effect, which leads to reduced physical engagement.

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He said that other reasons included depression, alcohol, drugs, personality disorder, psychotic illnesses and social-cultural problems such as indebtedness, marital relationship and academic problems among others.

Mr Omotoso observed that people who committed suicide just wanted to end their problems and did not necessarily want to die. (NAN)

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