Gede In The News!

Gede Foundation has empowered youths in Mpape to carry out  advocacy on treatment of mental health and other related cases.

The awareness programme to mark the World Mental Health Day with the theme, ‘Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World’ in Mpape, Abuja, took place at the weekend.

The programme officer, Zunzika Thole, said there was need to break taboos about mental health issues, advance policy and reduce stigma and discrimination amongst those with mental illnesses.

She said the programme was about providing education, awareness and livelihood support and empowerment for those affected with mental health.

She added that some mental ailments were caused by substance abuse by younger people.

“We need a system that focuses on the people rather than drugs and that is what we are doing. Let us focus on the people and rehabilitate them, if we do that even if the drugs are there, they will not be able to get them because the demand will go down,” she said.

A social psychologist at the event, Samuel Jinadu, said substance abuse among adolescents was a major cause of mental health disorder, adding that without mental health, there was no health.

“We must understand that mental health can come in diverse ways and we shouldn’t term it as a spiritual problem; all mental health cases are health related and we must take responsibility to seek help for those that are affected.

“It is a treatable condition if detected early and it is not communicable when you touch the person that is affected. When you see people that have seizure, or withdrawing syndrome go close and render help,” he said.

Culled from Daily Trust


10/10 - World Mental Health Day 2018: Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World

Yesterday, October 10, 2018 was World Mental Health Day. To mark it, one of the Foundation’s Self Help Groups (Mpape chapter), held a rally to raise awareness and then convened at the chief’s palace for a brief talk by our resident psychologist, Mr. Samuel Jinadu.

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Mr. Jinadu highlighted the use and abuse of drugs by youths today. He advised on signs to look out for and what to do in case someone exhibited such signs. He went further to explain that mental health conditions and epilepsy are non-communicable diseases - one cannot catch them by being in contact with another human being. He also explained that these conditions are MEDICAL and not SPIRITUAL as some people often assume.

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The SHG leaders put up a small sketch to highlight the stigma they have faced in the past. They sketch showed a woman having an epileptic seizure in the streets. Two women were walking by and one of them cautioned when the other lady decided to help. She said that touching the epilptic woman would transfer the sickness to her. Upon hearing this, the helpful woman explained that touching her or helping her cannot transfer the sickness to them.

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The day ended with scores of individuals explaining their journeys from when they began treatment, care and support, to where they are now. Most of them are in good shape, they are able to get treatment through the referral pathways that the Foundation and Primary & Secondary Healthcare Centres. So far, they have been able to sustain themselves and are continuing to do so. Our regular readers will recall that the Foundation sought to strengthen SHGs in Mpape and Mararaba, with BasicNeeds US. Please check the blog often for more updates!!

Happy 10/10!! Remember, there is no health without mental health!

GEDE AND NEPWHAN’s BODY & SOUL SELF-HELP GROUP

Written By Godwin Etim

Research shows that mental health disorders are highly prevalent among people living with HIV-AIDS, with major depressive disorders (MDD) occurring almost twice as frequently than in the general population. There are biological and social conditions that predispose a person with HIV to mental health disorders. The HIV virus itself also can contribute to mental health problems because it affects the brain cells. Some other opportunistic infections can also affect the nervous system and lead to changes in behaviour and functioning. Similarly, neuropsychological disorders, such as mild cognitive changes or more severe cognitive conditions, such as dementia, are associated with HIV disease.

 NEPWHAN (Network of People Living With HIV & AIDS) identified this burden among its members and initiated (in partnership with Gede Foundation) a self-help group mainly for families going through these conditions.

The maiden and inaugural meeting took place on September 22, 2018 at NEPWHAN’s Office in Asokoro.

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At the meeting, the Foundation presented its findings from the research on ‘Prevalence of depression, alcohol abuse, and suicidality among people living with HIV in FCT’, and also discussed the effectiveness of its current Community Mental Health Programme, using the BasicNeeds’ Model— which addresses stigma, provides medication and livelihood support leading to full recovery for those suffering from mental illnesses and epilepsy.

This partnership is timely as 1) the Country’s National HIV-AIDS Strategic Framework (2017-2021) mandated an integration of mental health services into the treatment and care protocols for those living with HIV, and, 2) the UNAIDS’ targets of 90:90:90 would be approached with some level of success when the mental health status for people at testing and treatment levels are considered and addressed.

The Body & Soul self-help group will be meeting every second Saturday of the month with the aim of expanding the groups across the states.

Visit our blog to receive more information on the outcome of this partnership

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'I was brought back from the brink of suicide'

I hit my lowest point in 2014. I didn't think I would ever recover - but I did (Culled from BBC)

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Monday 10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day. To mark it, we spoke to Jaabir, a 32-year-old man with borderline personality disorder (BPD), about how he recovered from his attempt to take his own life in 2014. It's believed one in 10 people with BPD take their own lives.

Four years ago I tried to kill myself.

I made my plans and I didn’t tell any of my friends or family what I was doing. I sent them all text messages beforehand, asking them how their day was going and saying I hoped their next few weeks would be nice. A couple of them replied. I still remember those messages, even though it was just normal chat to them. I don’t think they could tell that I was in absolute agony on the other end.

As I walked towards the spot where I thought my life would end, I took a quick photo of the scene and posted it, without a caption, on my Facebook page. Looking back on it now, I guess it was a final cry for help. Part of me hoped someone would recognise where I was, realise why I was there, and come and rescue me. That’s not what happened, though. As you’d expect, people mainly just commented that it was a nice view.

I was about to jump when, at the last minute, a coastal worker found me and talked me out of it. It was essentially his job to walk around the area and stop people from, well, doing what I was trying to do.

Looking back on everything that’s happened since, I feel so grateful to that man for stopping me.

I'm 32 years old now, but I started experiencing mental health problems when I was just 12, around the time my dad died. 

He passed away suddenly from thrombosis. It came out of nowhere, like a lightning bolt to our family. He felt ill on the Friday and died on the Sunday.

My childhood was actually really happy up until that point but my dad passing away changed something within me. His death made me feel cut off from the rest of the world. I became increasingly overwhelmed with grief and started finding it difficult to talk to other kids at school. And because they couldn’t relate to me, they left me out of things and called me 'weird'. As I became more distant, they started to pick on me even more.

It wasn’t long before they started bullying me because I was gay. I hadn’t actually come out yet but that didn’t stop them beating me up to – in their words - “see if poofs could feel pain”. I knew deep down I was gay but the bullying made it so much harder for me to admit it, even to myself.

I silently took whatever they threw at me. But all the while I was crumbling inside.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was already developing traits associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Everyone with BPD experiences it differently, of course, but I fluctuate between being in a really low mood, like a depressive state, and feeling really high, like I can take on the world. It’s exhausting because I can switch between these two states within a day, or even within an hour. I can feel intensely happy, but then something will trigger me and plunge me into a really low mood. According to recent research, 2.4% of people aged 16 to 64 in the UK have BPD. 

My condition also makes me look at things in a really black and white way – things are either absolutely perfect, or they’re a total disaster. It’s the same with people too. Someone is either the most perfect person I’ve ever met, or they’re the spawn of the devil – and what’s worse, just one miscommunication can immediately turn someone from the former to the latter in my head. There’s never a grey area, there’s no in-between. I know situations aren’t actually like that, but I just can’t see things in any other way.

Even after reaching those depths of sadness I didn’t heed the warning my body was sending me.

Jaabir

This is why it’s always been so hard for me to make friends, and even harder to keep them. I know it’s tough for other people to stick around, because often I’ll take things personally when I shouldn’t, or I’ll take things out of context and put a really negative spin on them. If someone pays me a compliment, my mind automatically turns it into an insult. Fortunately, I do have four real friends who have stood by me through everything - and I've always had the unwavering support of my mum.

The feeling of not knowing exactly what was wrong with me, just that I was deeply unhappy and reacting in an over-the-top way to everything, was how I felt all through school, college and uni too. After I finished my degree I got a good, stable job in IT – but those feelings just wouldn’t go away.

Eventually in 2009, I had a breakdown at work. My mum, who I’m really close to, had fallen ill and it pushed me over the edge. But even after reaching those depths of sadness I didn’t heed the warning my body was sending me. Instead, I just got right back on the hamster wheel, started again, and tried to push the pain out of my mind.

It didn’t work.

I suffered another breakdown just a few years later, in 2014, which led me to try to take my own life. My mum was better, but I was up to my eyeballs in debt and, to be honest, I had just had enough of living. 

I didn't tell my mum about what almost happened until about a week later. I didn't want her to worry about me but I wasn't myself at all, so she knew something was up. In the end, she was warm and supportive, as I knew she would be. It felt good to confide in her.

It was then that I realised I couldn’t carry on the way I had been – this wasn’t something I could just push to one side and forget about. About a year later, in 2015, I decided I couldn’t hide who I was anymore and I finally came out as gay. I hoped that by acknowledging who I was, I could let go of the hurt and anger caused by the homophobic abuse I’d suffered as a child.

Most of the people close to me were really accepting – especially my mum, who has since become a massive LGBT ally. Even now, she’s always the first to tell me the latest gay rights news – I found out that Ireland had legalised same-sex marriage from her before seeing any of the headlines!

At the same time though, coming out was a bittersweet experience. Part of me had assumed that, if I came out, I would immediately feel this huge sense of relief and that I’d suddenly be happy with who I was. But that just wasn’t the case – and that disappointment at not having that 'a-ha!' moment, where everything resolved itself in my head, plunged me into another blue period. That’s when I finally went to a doctor and was formally diagnosed with BPD.

Getting diagnosed was only the beginning. I was prescribed a mood stabiliser but I knew I would have to try to find my own way for the next two years before I could have Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (or DBT) because of the long waiting lists for talking therapies on the NHS. I could see the time stretching out before me, which put me in a bit of a lonely place – but at least I knew what was making me feel this way.

After trying to take my own life, coming out and seeking professional help for my BPD, I left my job in IT. Instead, I started volunteering at a hospital in South London, before volunteering for a mental health charity in Camden for eight months. It felt good to help other people in a similar situation to me.

Then, one day in early 2017, I heard about a walking group run by a local mental health charity in my area of North London and decided to try it out. It was actually incredible. Even though it was just a short route, walking with a small group of people going through similar stuff made me feel a lot less alone – and the exercise helped me feel better too. Plus the guy leading the group seemed so confident, which I found inspiring. He had his life together in a way that I could only dream of.

The more walks I went on, the more energy I gained. I would chat to our group leader and ended up getting to know him quite well, and eventually I started plotting out our routes with him. It was voluntary, of course, but I really enjoyed it. I could feel myself growing in confidence. The weekly walks had become my reason to get up in the morning. 

In April this year, the group leader told me he was moving on to another job. I was devastated. I was worried that the walks, which had become a lifeline to me and so many other people in the area, wouldn’t be able to continue.

But he reassured me he already had a successor in mind: me.

Can you imagine how happy I was? I said yes straight away – I had finally been given the opportunity to do something I really enjoyed, to help others with mental health problems, and, crucially, to get back into paid work. Now I spend my week planning the routes, making sure they're different enough each time so they stay interesting.

Things got even better at the end of last year because I finally started having my DBT treatment. I go once a week and talk to my therapist about my childhood, being bullied and the death of my dad.

It’s allowed me to look at things more objectively. I’ve even been able to forgive the kids who bullied me at school – which sounds unbelievable, but I can see that they may have had a lot of problems themselves that they were passing on to me.

I’ve realised being angry wasn’t helping me at all. Instead, it’s just been a source of torment. Now, I'm even thinking about becoming a counsellor one day, so I could help others with their mental health problems full-time.

I’ve come a long way since I was standing on the edge of that cliff, feeling totally hopeless, ready to give it all up, but now I feel genuinely happy.

Jaabir

Oh, and I have a boyfriend now too - his name's Dale (he's the guy standing next to me in the photo above). We’re ridiculously happy together, which is an incredible feeling. We actually met on a dating site specifically for people with mental health conditions, which makes it easier really – it means that we both instinctively understand what the other is going through. Plus, my mum absolutely loves him – which is always a good sign. We’re celebrating our one-year anniversary this month.

It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get to this point. I’ve come a long way since I was standing on the edge of that cliff, feeling totally hopeless, ready to give it all up, but now I feel genuinely happy. 

I only hope that I can keep helping other people feel this way too.

As told to Ashitha Nagesh

If you have been affected by issues raised in this article, help and support is available from these organisations.

Reconnection - A New Mental Health Camp

After over a year, Gede Foundation has re-entered Mpape and Mararaba communities in order to not only strengthen their Self Help Groups (SHGs), but also to provide a clear referral pathway from the communities to the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) to a secondary healthcare facility. 

With that in mind, the Foundation held a Mental Health Camp (MHC) on Saturday, August 11th 2018, in Mpape at the PHC. As always, there was an array of cases ranging from schizophrenia to epilepsy to depression. Our regular readers will recall the lady who was chained to a pole in a church for over 3 years. She has, for some time now, not been attending SHG meetings and we had hoped to see her progress as we had heard there was a relapse. Much of it bordered on the fact that she was pregnant and could therefore not continue with the medication she was on. She was also not doing any type of business and so was financially handicapped. However, after she had her baby (who is now 10 months old), she continued with her medication. When she came to the MHC on Saturday, she  did not only look like a different woman, she was different. She was very articulate and seemed to have all her faculties intact. She narrated that she was still on her medication. She has continued with her business - tailoring and pastry making. She is also able to regularly buy her medication without significant interruptions. In fact, when she went to speak to the attending physician for the day, Dr. Oladele Fagbohun, he did not seem to think there was anything wrong with her. She had to be sent back to the doctor to explain her history properly. The headaches that had plagued her for such a long time are now a thing of the past! 

Another interesting case was of a woman, who for over 10 years has had a recurring problem. She feels hot inside her body at night. Even after she removes beddings and clothing, she still feels hot. She even goes as far as immersing herself in cold water to no avail. This has continued, along with blinding headaches, until she was given some form of medication. Even as she was speaking tears were just pouring - but not because she was crying, it appeared that was the norm. She did not even seem to realise that the tears were flowing. After she saw the doctor, he concluded that she was schizophrenic as there were other issues that she divulged to him. This was one of the many new cases that were presented. 

Epilepsy, remained the most common ailment plaguing our users. One of our old users, even with medication, still has regular seizures. His mother has thankfully seen a pattern. When there is a change in the weather, hot or cold, windy or rainy, the boy has violent seizures. Overall, he is doing well.

Our next MHC will be in Mararana on the 16th of August, 2018. Do return for more updates! You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter

GEDE TRAINS RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

Our regular readers will recall that Gede Foundation received grants from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to validate ‘Culturally Appropriate Mental Health Screening Tools for use among Vulnerable Children in Nigeria’ in 2016. A review of the Project Report by stakeholders in 2018 suggested a pilot study using the 4 validated screening tools, (now in English, Pidgin and Hausa languages) among Children in CRS’s SMILE Project locations in the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa State. The tools under reference are the Conduct Disorder Screen, Oppositional Deviant Disorder, Depression Rating Scale and the Child Symptom Scale.  

In preparation for the study, 20 Research Assistants were trained on data collection for 3 days by the Principal Investigator, Professor Andrew Zamani of Nassarawa State University. 

Prof Zamani explained the study procedure including case identification using the screeners, ethical considerations, acquiring consents from primary caregivers and potential benefits of such study. He emphasized on observing research ethics, especially, as it involves respondents who are orphans and vulnerable children within 12-17 age range.

A combination of presentations, role plays, plenary and practical sessions helped to equip Research Assistants with the required knowledge and skills to begin with data collection from 500 expected respondents in the two locations. The field activities will commence in a couple of days.

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Visit the page for more update regarding the study.

Number of university students committing suicide nearly doubles since 2000 with men twice as likely to take their own lives, new figures show

  • 95 student suicides recorded in year ending July 2017  compared to 52 in 2001
  • Male students accounted for twice as many suicides as female students
  • Office for National Statistics said analysis help inform policy and prevent deaths
  • Readers can call the Samaritans for confidential advice on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org

By KATE FERGUSON, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR MAILONLINE

The number of university students committing suicide has nearly doubled since 2000, new figures today show.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, comes amid growing alarm at the issue after ten students took their lives in just 18 months at Bristol University 

Some 95 student suicides were recorded in the year ending July 2017 - nearly twice as many as the 52 noted in 2000/2001, according to the ONS.

Over the 16 years which experts looked at, some 1,330 students took their own lives, according to official records.  

Around twice as many men studying at higher education institutes have taken their own lives own compared to women over the same period.

On average, students in England and Wales committing suicide were just 26 years-old. 

The numbers will spark alarm that people are not getting the help they desperately need when they are feeling low. 

But the figures also show that the suicide rate among university students is lower than the general population.

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The figures show that 95 student suicides were recorded in the year ending July 2017 - nearly twice as many as the 52 recorded in 2000/2001.

The number of students committing suicide has remained pretty steady over the past few years at 93 the 2015/ 2016 and 102 in 2013/14. 

Theresa May has made tackling mental health one of her key pledges since becoming Prime Minister two years ago.

But critics have warned that the Government has failed to pump the money needed to beef up mental health services and ensure people are getting the support thy desperately need. 

Male students are far more likely to take their own lives than women, the alarming figures show. 

Of these 878 (66 per cent) were males and 452 (34 per cent) were females. 

Head of Information at the mental health charity Mind, Stephen Buckley, said: 'We lose almost 6,000 lives a year to suicide and every one is a tragedy. 

'Not all suicides are mental health-related but the majority are and we know that often people, especially men, struggle in silence and find it difficult to know how to ask for help. 

'More needs to be done to ensure everyone feels able to seek the help they need so fewer people reach crisis point for their mental health.'

He said that anyone experiencing problems should seek help.

John de Pury, Assistant director of policy at Universities UK, which represents universities, said: 'This new release is the most comprehensive data we have on the rate of suicide among university students. 

'Although there is a lower rate of student suicide among university students in England and Wales compared with the general population of similar ages, there is no room for complacency here. 

'This remains an urgent challenge for universities and society. 

Sarah Caul, Senior Research Officer for the ONS, said: 'To help provide insight into the issue of student suicides we have produced new analysis examining suicide trends among higher education students.

Theresa May has made tackling mental health one of her top priorities since  becoming PM

'The rate of suicide in 2016 to 2017 in higher education students was 4.7 deaths per 100,000 students. 

'Although higher than in earlier years, the comparatively low numbers of suicides per year make it challenging to identify significant differences.

'Meanwhile, the rate for suicide in female students is significantly lower than the rate in males. 

'This is also observed when looking at overall student suicides as well as the differences in studying patterns.

'Today's analysis will help to develop policies and initiatives for those at greatest risk of suicide.'

The ONS cautioned that the figures are quite low and therefore susceptible to fluctuations between the years.

 Mr. Murray

Mr. Murray

Mr Murray told the Sunday Times his son's (pictured below) death was a complete shock as he had not shown any previous cries for help

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The problem of student suicides has come under the spotlight after ten people studying at Bristol University killed themselves in just 18 months.

Among them was Ben Murray, an English student was only 19-years-old when he took his own life. 

Since his death, his parents have questioned why Bristol University did not do more to get in touch with them when he began to fall behind in his studies.

His father James, 50, a businessman living in Cornwall spoke about his last meeting with his son at lunch, where he confessed that he could have been more open about his feelings when he was younger.

Only a few hours later after saying goodbye, Ben was dead.

He told The Sunday Times earlier this month: 'Maybe he was trying to tell me how serious his situation was in that last lunch, but all he said was that the university had given him a warning. 

'Last Tuesday was the end of the first month of living with the reality that our youngest son has taken his own life. It has been the longest month of our lives.' 

Anyone struggling to cope should call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website at www.samaritans.org.  

Culled from Mail Online

Increasing uptake of mental health services through the activities of Self-Help Groups

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Gede Foundation started its Community Mental Health and Development Programme in 2016 in the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa State. The programme focused on raising awareness about mental health and providing treatment and care at the community level to those with mental illnesses and epilepsy. It has reached 949 people with common mental illnesses such as (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders, and substance dependence) and epilepsy, through the mental health camps with specialists at the rural communities of Mpape amd Mararaba. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists visit communities through the Primary Healthcare Centres, screen, diagnose and offer treatment as appropriate.

Over the period, self-help groups (including users, careers and community volunteers) have been established in these communities, with the aim to engage with available community networks to address the various barriers for uptake of mental health services including prevention activities. More than 200 members are actively involved in prevention and referral activities within the self-help groups in both communities.

The Foundation has provided series of trainings to the primary healthcare staff and members of the self-help groups to support their activities. This uptake has been made possible with a generous donation from BasicNeeds US. 

These trainings were to set a trend for the self-help groups to be self sufficient and true to the term - “self-help” and to facilitate smooth referral pathways for delivering of mental health services.

The trainings, which fell during the ‘mental health awareness week’, were two-fold and hinged on leadership and advocacy, as well as, referral pathways for those affected by mental illnesses and epilepsy.

The self-help groups meet every last Saturday of the month in their respective communities. They have been doing so since inception, in November 2016. During their meetings, which the Foundation has observed, they discuss various issues such as bringing more awareness about mental health issues to their communities as well as advocating for more care and support towards their cause. They also counsel each other where necessary; refer cases first to the Primary Healthcare Centres for proper care and to the secondary health facilities as needed. They also encourage themselves to be present at meetings, to adhere to medication as prescribed by specialist and support others to do same.

During the meeting, the chief of Mararaba Gurku, Allahyayi Gambo expressed gratitude to the Foundation for not ‘deserting’ the community and continuing to champion the cause despite the obvious stigma attached to it.

Going forward, the Foundation hopes to lend a helping hand to the community with hopes of scaling up the community programme and encourage referrals/adherence to medication. It is hoped that the self-help groups would be empowered to respond to issues that affect their mental wellbeing and also get rooted in interventions that will make them self-sustaining.

 

 

WHO tags video game addiction ‘mental disorder’

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, for the first time, tagged compulsive video gaming as a mental health condition in its updated classification manual released on Monday.

The UN health agency said video game addiction should now officially read ‘gaming disorder’.

“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning,’’ WHO said.

It added that such behavioural pattern would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

The formal designation of “gaming disorder” within WHO’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) was welcomed by some groups as helpful to sufferers.

Others, however, saw the official designation as causing needless concern among parents.

“There are few truer snapshots of a country’s well-being than its health statistics,’’ the UN agency also said.

WHO said while broad economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product may skew impressions of individual prosperity, data on disease and death reveal how a population is truly faring.

According to WHO, ICD is the “bedrock for health statistics,” codifying the human condition from birth to death, including all factors that influence health.

These statistics form the basis for healthcare provision everywhere and are at the core of mapping disease trends and epidemics; helping governments decide how money is spent on health services.

 

WHO said crucially, in a world of 7.4 billion people speaking nearly 7,000 languages, ICD provides a common vocabulary for recording, reporting and monitoring health problems.

“Fifty years ago, it would be unlikely that a disease, such as schizophrenia, would be diagnosed similarly in Japan, Kenya and Brazil.

“Now, however, if a doctor in another country cannot read a person’s medical records, they will know what the ICD code means,’’ WHO explained.

Without the ICD’s ability to provide standardised, consistent data, each country or region would have its own classifications that would most likely only be relevant locally.

“Standardisation is the key that unlocks global health data analysis,’’ WHO said.

The 11th edition of ICD was released to allow Member States time to plan implementation before it is presented for adoption at the 2019 World Health Assembly.

Noting that it has been updated for the 21st century, WHO said “over a decade in the making, this version is a vast improvement on ICD-10.’’

It added that ICD now reflects critical advances in science and medicine.

Moreover, the guidelines can also be integrated with modern electronic health applications and information systems – making implementation significantly easier, vulnerable to fewer mistakes and allowing more detail to be recorded.

80 Nigerians commit suicide in 13 months

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Culled from Daily Trust

There is a surging trend of Nigerians committing suicide with about 80 killed in the last 13 months, according to reported incidents collated by Daily Trust.

Seventy-nine people had committed suicide between April 8, 2017, and May 12 this year, according to the data obtained by Daily Trust from content analysis of Nigerian newspapers.

Majority of the reasons given for the reported suicides range from financial difficulty, marital problems, academic challenges, among others. Lagos State leads the pack with 14 reported cases within the period under review.

Close to 800 000 people die globally due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. According to WHO Suicide Ranking, with 15.1 suicides per 100,000 population in a year, Nigeria is now the 30th most suicide-prone (out of 183 nations) in the world.

Nigeria is also ranked 10th African country with higher rates of suicide, leading countries like Togo (ranked 26th), Sierra Leone (11th), Angola (19th), Equatorial Guinea (7th), Burkina Faso (22nd) and Cote d’Ivoire (5th).

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) said suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds globally.

Suicide is a global phenomenon; in fact, 78 percent of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4 percent of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death in 2015.

There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others who have attempted suicide.

Reasons and signs of suicide – Experts

Medical experts said some of the signs that someone may be thinking or planning to commit suicide include change in behaviour or the presence of entirely new behaviours, when a person is always talking or thinking about death or killing self, when a person loses interest in things he or she used to care about before and making comments about being worthless, helpless or hopeless.

Others include when the person has depression, takes risks that could lead to death, sudden switch from being very sad to being happy, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means, acting recklessly and withdrawing from activities to mention a few.

They said people around anyone exhibiting these signs or who have attempted suicide before should be concerned and seek help from experts and appropriate authorities.

Dr Mustapha Gudaji, a consultant psychiatrist with the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and a senior lecturer with Bayero University Kano, said there are many factors responsible for the rising cases of suicide.

He said there are biological causes such as people committing suicide because of personality defects, and some diseases that make them feel incomplete and want to take their lives, adding that other causes are the mental illnesses like depression, drugs abuse, and adjustment disorders.

Dr Gudaji said the high rate of drug abuse is also increasing the prevalence of suicide in the country saying that some people engage in drug abuse to escape from the high realities of life, and to take care of mental illnesses like depression, known as mal-adjustive ways of coping.

The psychiatrist said sociological causes of suicide include unemployment and socioeconomic hardships among others.

Dr Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, a consultant neuropsychiatrist and psychotherapist, said depression, reactions to failure and disappointments, in response to accumulated domestic violence, unemployment, alcohol dependence, are some reasons for committing suicide.

“Against the general belief that suicide results from mental illness, not all people who commit suicide are mentally ill,” Dr Kadiri who is also the Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services, Lagos, said.

She said suicide prevention needs proper coordination and collaboration to ensure effective outcomes.

According to her, suicide is not the best way of dealing with personal loss or the way to manage any situation. “Suicide has to stop and this involves joint campaign by everyone,” she added.

“There is need to develop resilience (the ability to cope with adverse life events and adjust to them), a sense of personal self-worth and self-confidence, effective coping and problem-solving skills, and adaptive help-seeking behaviour because they are often considered to be protective factors against the development of suicidal behaviours,” she advised.

What religious leaders say

The Founder of the Al-Mustofiyyah Society of Nigeria, Ustaz Maisuna M. Yahya, said while it is haram (forbidden) to commit suicide, some of the reasons for the rising cases of suicide in the last one year include economic hardship with some who graduated having no job and those who learnt apprenticeship have no money to buy instruments, as well as the low-income salary, sacked or retrenchment.

“Suicide is a great punishable sin in the sight of Allah. And whoever hopes in God, will be repatriated by Him. So also, are divorced cases loss of hope in the nearest future lack of strong faith in Allah as the Sole Provider (Sustainer).

“Also, are orphanages and widows’ predicaments, frustration from indebtedness, peers’ influence, effects of drug addiction, the harshness of parenthood, loneliness without socialising with other responsible people,” Yahya said.

On his part, the Chief Imam of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society, Sheik Fuad Adeyemi, said, non-reliance on Allah and over ambition among others also contribute to the high cases of suicide in the country.

Also, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle told Daily Trust that the economic situation in the country is largely responsible.

“From all indications, the political class has failed us. They over-promised but under-deliver and instead of joint hands in solving social and economic problems, they are indulging in blame game. The jobless, the hungry, the homeless, the hopeless, the rejected, the poor, the sick who has no one to take care of him or her at all, do not care which party is ruling or the opposition.

“All they want is a solution to their problems. If the religion is telling them hereafter, the government is not put in place to send them to the early grave but helps them to justify their existence. Our government at all levels should wake up from their unholy slumber before the situation snowballs into revolution. A hungry man is an angry man. 

“Nigeria has what it takes to make life comfortable to all and sundry. The political class should stop cornering our commonwealth,” Ayokunle who spoke through his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji said.