By Onozure Dania, LAGOS
The Deputy Director, Medical Social Services, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, and training coordinator, Suicide Research Prevention Initiative, SUPRIN, Dr. Titilayo Tade, has said suicide rate in Nigeria in 2019 is 6.9/ 100,000, which is higher than 6.5 rate in 2012; but under-reported or miscoded.
Dr. Tade said the reason was that suicide is still a criminal offence, with the shortage of mental health care personnel, cultural and religious beliefs about mental health and suicide stigma.
Tade disclosed this on Thursday, while speaking on the topic “Suicide Prevention as a Pathway to Hope: The SUPRIN experience”, at the maiden Vangaurd Health Summit with the Theme: “Mobilising for Systematic Change and Better Mental Health Care in Nigeria”.
She added that 7.2 percent of cases referred to psychiatrist services in LUTH were cases related to suicide.
Speaking about the number of suicide deaths, Tade said: “The number of suicide deaths reported as at 2019 is 7,019, according to World Health Organisation, WHO— 5,110 males and 1,909 females — over five years study period at LUTH.
“Nigeria lacks fully developed comprehensive and integrated national suicide prevention.
“58 per cent of global suicides occurred before the age of 50 years and 88 percent of adolescents suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries.
“77 percent of suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries in 2019 and men account for nearly three times the number of suicides than women.”
On global suicide prevention, she said: “Globally, only 38 countries are known to have fully developed national suicide prevention plan.
“WHO needs the collaboration of all countries in reducing the world suicide rate by one third by 2030, through limiting access to the means of suicide, fostering socio-emotional life skills of adolescents.
“Early identification, assessment management and follow-up of suicide behaviours and interacting with the media for responsible reporting of suicide, will also help in reduction of suicide rates,” she said.