By Augusta Uchediunor
Lagos, Sept. 10, 2020 A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Maymunnah Yusuf-Kadiri, on Thursday warned against Copycat suicide, calling for urgent help and coordinated action to reduce suicide cases in Nigeria.
Yusuf-Kadiri, also the Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, Lagos, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on the 2020 World Suicide Prevention Day with the theme: “Preventing Suicide Together’’.
According to her, there is also need for the media to deploy responsible reportage of suicide in order to reduce triggers of copycat suicide.
Naija247news reports that the World Suicide Prevention Day is commemorated annually on Sept. 10.
Yusuf-Kadiri described Copycat suicide as “an emulation of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about, either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media.
“Copycat suicide is mostly blamed on the media.
“A study conducted in 2002 found evidence for the influence of media on suicidal behaviour.
“It has been shown for newspapers and television reports of actual suicides, films and television portrayals of suicide, and suicide in literature, especially suicide manuals.
“Publicised suicide serves as a trigger, in the absence of protective factors, for the next suicide by a susceptible or suggestible person.
“This is referred to as suicide contagion.
“People who are young or old, but not middle-aged, seem to be most susceptible to this effect,’’ she told NAN.
On some preventive measures against suicide, Yusuf-Kadiri said that it could be prevented through supportive mechanisms and early detection of triggers and symptoms.
She said: “Also, effective and evidence-based interventions have been developed, and can be implemented nationwide and at individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.
“We do need each other at our different corners of the nation and the world, carrying the message of hope, and encouraging one another to live to fight another day.
“This is because by learning what we need to do when confronted with a suicidal person, or how to help someone that has previously attempted suicide, we would be able to say the right things to that boy wallowing in pain, or that lady that just wants to end it all, or that mother that just lost her child.’’
Yusuf-Kadiri highlighted that suicide was responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
She said that the Pinnacle had pledged to use the time it takes for one suicide to occur, to make effort in preventing it.
Yusuf-Kadiri urged Nigerians to take same pledge, “40 seconds Challenge for Suicide Prevention’’, and share a video of self taking it and send to 08099731259, or tag on Instagram at PinnacleMedNg.
“I promise to check in with the people around me, listen non-judgmentally to them, be empathetic, compassionate and give my support to make a difference.
“I do this because I understand that together, we can only be stronger,’’ Yusuf-Kadiri pledged, urging others to do same.