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Medical experts speak on high suicide rate in Nigeria, suggest solutions

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

WHO’s 2016 Global Health Observatory Data Repository, also estimates that 9.5 suicides per 100,000 occur in Nigeria.

The worry is that suicide continues to be on the rise, though it is a criminal offence in Nigeria. According to Section 327 of the Criminal Code, attempted suicide remains criminalised and the victim risks imprisonment for one year.

Besides the usual reasons adduced as the causes of suicide, Olayinka Atilola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said mental health problem can also be responsible.

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According to him, most people who commit suicide could do that as a result of a mental health problem or a psycho-social problem

The psychiatrist listed psycho-social problems to include: anxiety, depression, hostility, hopelessness, which exist at the individual level, among others.

He called on the government to ensure the provision of mental health service in each of the primary health care centres across the country.

This, according to him, will provide a means of helping those who might want to attempt suicide, adding that the best approach to combat suicide is to provide psychiatric help.

“The federal and state governments should endeavour to have a programme that will allow people to talk about their health problems and other challenges of life that are daily confronting them which can serve as impetus to committing suicide.”

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