Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every 40 seconds one person dies from suicide. Among teenagers aged 15 – 19 years, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and the 10th cause of death in the US across all ages. The WHO has specified that suicide is higher among low and middle income countries such as Nigeria. Recent data places Nigeria’s suicide rate at 15th in the world and 7th in Africa. This shows the magnitude of suicide in Nigeria, calling for all stakeholders’ attention.
You can learn more about why people attempt suicide.
Before suicides, comes suicidal thoughts, or ideations. Suicidal ideations are thoughts about ending one’s own life. Suicidal thoughts can be scary. Such a person may feel like things will never get better and suicide is a way of escape. A lot of people think about suicide, so you are not alone.
Thinking about suicide does not mean such a person would attempt it, but it is a risk factor. Suicidal thoughts grow, and range from fleeting thoughts, extensive thoughts to planning
Fleeting Thoughts are passing thoughts about actively or passively killing oneself.
Extensive Thoughts are comprehensive thoughts around killing oneself. The person begins to spend more time thinking about it
Planning deals with taking active steps in deciding what is to be done, how it is to be done, when and where it is to be done.
Types of Suicidal Ideation – Active and Passive
Active Suicidal Ideation: This is the type of suicidal ideation we think about and see on the media – a direct result of someone’s deliberate actions. Active suicidal ideation can be defined as thoughts that involve an existing wish to die accompanied by a plan for how to carry out the death.
Passive Suicidal Ideation: These are defined as thoughts that involve a desire to die (silent wish), but without having a specific plan to carry out this wish. This has to do with a wish to die during sleep, being killed by an accident, or the act of God. People with passive suicide ideation may avoid taking medications that are vital to their health, don’t take precautions on safety, don’t eat, and get out of bed while they pretend to the world that everything is okay. Family members and friends accuse them of being lazy. Passive ideation has the tendency of converting to active ideation.
- Signs of depression
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Bringing up death or suicide in discussions or writing
- Saying goodbyes to people like they won’t see them again, or making amends with loved ones
- Using phrases that make death sound like an option such as “You are going to miss me when I am gone”
- Drastic or sudden change in eating or sleeping patterns
- Talks about self-hatred or self-bully
- Evidence of previous self harm (e.g. cut to the hand)
- Questioning the purpose of living (usually accompanied with a history of depression)
- Giving away possessions without reason, or having a pressing interest in personal wills or life insurance
- Demonstrating a burst of energy immediately after a period of sadness (mood swing)
- Serious financial problems leading to symptoms of depression
- Frequent talk about unbearable pain, or feeling like they are a burden on others
- Drinks excessively or take drugs (maybe an attempt to dull the pain or to harm self)
- Act recklessly
- Significant changes in appearance and hygiene
- Drastic weight gain or weight loss without a cause
- Searching about suicide on the internet
Suicide Emergency Numbers in Nigeria
Nigeria Suicide Prevention Initiative
Hotlines: 08062106493, 08092106493
Lagos State Help Lines
Hotlines: 08058820777, 09030000741
LUTH Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN)
Hotlines: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909, 07013811143
Please note that we do not provide emergency services. Kindly reach out to the above numbers.
Do not wait until suicide is completed, you can schedule an appointment for therapy, counselling, or medications to help. You can also send us a message to get started or get quick answers on our frequently asked questions.
Remember, suicide is preventable, and you too can help.
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Until I come your way next time, remember, better day tomorrow.