She was found dead in her room. Reports stated that she committed suicide because she was dumped by her boyfriend. In another report, her friends and uncle stated that she decided to take her life after she was raped by the said boyfriend. She was motivated by the fact that she was a virgin and the guy never loved her.
This is the heart-rending story of Miss Christabel Omoremime Buoro, a 300-level student of the Department of Medical Laboratory Service, University of Benin (UNIBEN). Just one of the many reported and unreported cases of suicide that is fast becoming a culture among young people
In several reports, more young Nigerians between ages 15 to 25 are taking their lives for one reason or the other – From relationship issues, to economic hardships, to stress, to mental health issues, and so on like that. The reports indicate that students of higher institutions constitute the highest victims of suicide cases.
It is very hard to make broad statements about suicide, especially debating what fuels the decision. While some say it is mostly caused by mental health issues, some others say it is technology – social media – killing relationships and making young people more paranoid than ever. However, we will be trying to run away from the issue if we do not state that improper treatment of mental health issues is what motivates suicide. One of such mental health issues is depression.
Honestly, it will take a while tackling depression, considering it has become more widespread than we even know and chronic. Many people most times do not even understand that they are depressed. You hear things like: “I am doing what I should be doing: thinking about life,” until it leads to suicidal thoughts.
Depression affects basically everyone. Students who do not understand failure; fathers or mothers who are tired of a marriage or unable to cater for their families; friends who no longer believe in healthy physical relationships and so on. Depression can be triggered by other mental illnesses, but it can also lead to certain mental illnesses. These include anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and substance abuse.
But what is the solution?
Stopping individual suicides is possible. One of such ways is changing orientations. People need to know that face-to-face conversations and physical relationships will always be better than pseudo-internet networking. Knowing what drives suicide and having improved mental health treatment options might not help if people do not know the value of physically reaching out to people in their time of hopelessness.
Also, we need to stop stigmatising people with stress disorders, depression and mental health issues, considering that people won’t seek help if they perceive there is a stigma around these things. Stress, depression and other mental illness are chronic diseases are just like diabetes or cancer and should be treated with improved attention.
There are compelling indications that adequate prevention and treatment of depression, alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates.
Depression has to be tackled now!