World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) 2021 themed “Creating hope through action” – represents a global commitment to promote suicide prevention. According the WHO; this year’s theme “reflects the need for collective action to address this public health issue”. Suicide remains a public health issue that all health care workers including Nurses & Nursing students are charged to take action in its active prevention.
Suicide cases & attempts have a staggering effect, not only on the families of the affected, but also the community. The incidence rate of Suicide have been dramatically increased by Covid-19, as people have reported that their mental health have worsened. Suicide is linked to mental disorders, particularly depression & the strongest risk factor is a ” previous suicide attempt”.
As Nurses & Nursing students; we are at the forefront of Suicide Prevention in our respective communities, expected to understand the signs of suicide (such as hopelessness, extreme mood swings, withdrawal from friends and family) and the preventive measures. Social stigma of mental illnesses is a major barrier to predicting suicide in Nigeria, as well as low mental hygiene & mental health literacy.
How to help a person with suicidal thoughts:
1. Don’t disregard their feelings.
2. Look at suicide as a cry for help.
3. Be a good listener.
4. Encourage them to get help.
5. Ask about their suicidal feelings.
6. Don’t leave them alone.
7. Know that Secrets can kill (having a friend/loved one alive is more important than keeping their suicidal thoughts a secret).
Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. But with time and support, the pain and suicidal feelings will pass.
Together, We can “create hope through action” in our different regions by taking active steps towards Suicide Prevention.
Comr. Khadija Motunrayo Musa
NUNSA National President.