Expert seeks specialized mental health facilities to prevent suicide

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Nigerian Government has been urged to establish specialized mental health facilities to prevent the rising cases of suicide in the country.

Nkem DenChukwu, a healthcare administrator made the call during a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital city, southern Nigeria.

DenChukwu also stressed that mental health care providers in the public and private sector need to embark on awareness campaigns for suicide prevention.

Capacity Building

The expert, who is also an author and filmmaker, stated that the capacity of mental healthcare practitioners should be developed in a manner to encourage access to existing facilities.

she urged, it is very important for mental healthcare providers to understand how those prone to suicide feel and encourage such a person to find a happiness as well as share their experiences with others.

According to DenChukwu, the frequent reports of suicide amongst young people is worrisome and requires the concerted efforts of stakeholders in the public and private sector to encourage those with suicidal tendencies to seek mental health services as soon as the early warning signals of depression are noticed.

Harmful Practices

She pointed out that some cultural practices hinder people suffering depression from seeking medical assistance, urging I believe it is important for us to discard some of our cultural practices, which makes it a taboo for people to seek urgent necessary mental care or even admitting to depression.

The expert further reasoned that rising incidences of suicide was indicative of poor mental health attitude leading to avoidable deaths, if no preventive measures were in place.

She further added “at every point in time people are either contemplating suicide, attempting suicide, committing suicide due to several factors. We can all help prevent suicide because the warning signs are always glaring. We have to be very attentive to the smallest signs, a little attention can save a life”. 

Ime Njoku