Over 3,000 lives are lost to suicide every day globally ― Report

• FG to develop relevant policies to coordinate mental health interventions

A World Health Organisation (WHO) status report on suicide showed that more than 3,000 people lose their lives due to suicide which is equivalent to one life being lost every 40 seconds, accounting for approximately 800,000 deaths per year globally.

Consequently, for every suicide that is committed, it is estimated that more than 20 had been attempted and each suicidal death is a public health concern with a profound impact on those around them.

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s death. It is a preventable cause of premature death which can be influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through global responses that address these main width factors and evidence has been shown that adequate prevention can prevent suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day was established by the International Association for Suicide Prevention with the WHO as co-sponsor of the day.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, in his keynote address at the 2022 World Suicide Prevention Day in Abuja said the purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

Ehanire who was represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr Alex Okoh, explained that most people that attempt suicide had existing mental health challenges which may or may not have been diagnosed.

He, therefore, said the bigger picture in suicide prevention is the comprehensive approach at the centre of which is paying more attention to the mental health needs of individuals especially the youth who are experiencing stress from prevailing and emerging situations worldwide.

“Identified risk factors for suicide include; depression, job or financial loss, feeling of hopelessness, harmful use of alcohol and other substances, chronic pain and illness, family history of suicide and genetic and biological factors.”

“In addition, experiencing conflict and disaster, violence, abuse or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour. The strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.


“Suicide is recognised by the WHO as significant public and health concern But it is generally underreported due to factors like stigmatization, taboo, criminalization and lack of established reporting system.

“By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.”

Ehanire further disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health, through the National Mental Health program is taking action to develop relevant policies and coordinate mental health interventions and Services Nationwide and has commenced the development of the national suicide prevention strategy.

“The theme for the 2022 suicide prevention day: creating hope through action calls for Improved Social connection with families and friends, Healthcare workers, religious and political leaders to prevent suicide, through active counselling and support to empower others to take charge of their lives and value the one life they have.

“Promoting good mental health and suicide prevention through a multi-sectoral approach involves the deployment of evidence base strategies which include strengthening economic support, improved access to qualitative and affordable mental health services, creation of protective environment by reducing stress to libel means among people at risk of suicide, promoting connectiveness by peer known programs and community engagement, teach coping and problem-solving skills among others.”

Earlier, the Country Representative of WHO, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, in his remarks pointed out that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.

Molumbo also said every case of suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and the entire country and it has long-lasting effects on the people left behind.

According to Molumbo, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions and for national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed.

“In 2013, the World Health Assembly adopted the Mental Health Action Plan 2013 to 2020 and identified suicide prevention as an important priority for achieving the global target of reducing the rate of suicide in countries by 10 per cet by 2020.

“Nigeria has shown commitment to this target by first of all establishing the new National Mental Health Programme in the Federal Ministry of Health to provide strategic leadership on mental health activities and also worked closely with the National Assembly to develop a new mental health bill which aligns with international standards, as we are all eagerly awaiting the assent of this bill by H.E. The President of Federal Government of Nigeria.

“As WHO we pledge to continue supporting the country to implement priority activities towards mental health including suicide prevention and control.

“In the coming weeks, we will be supporting the review and update of the 2013 National Mental Health Policy, development of a national framework for suicide prevention and commemoration of the 2022 World Mental Health Day,” Molumbo said.

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