This Once in a Century Pandemic Could Be A Deep Rooted Suicide Trigger

The correlation between the two pandemics

Chronic stress, insomnia, social isolation, substance abuse depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders are a few of the effects. And on the flip side, these aforementioned are associated with suicide and are even viewed as possible suicidal behaviors. So in essence, we observe a relationship between the both.

The bottom up approach

In response to these alarming and hapless circumstances, Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, Scientist in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, noted that “effective measures can be taken, even just starting at a local level and on a small-scale”. So the concern should be what legislation is currently in place and if they are already archaic, what updated policies and comprehensive approach that reflect the culture and realities of our time are practical and inherent? We all come from a community, so how well are our communities involved in a concerted fight against this public health matter? The number of suicide cases is reaching its crescendo, this is therefore, a national call to action to address and squash this tragic public health issue afflicting the world especially the younger population.

The place of a national strategy

WHO, citing the efficacy of a national strategy elucidated that if adopted, would give a signal to the citizens that the government is committed to addressing the issue. They discovered that it is not only an indicator of a responsible government in handling the issue of suicide but displays their efforts in ‘providing leadership and guidance on the key evidence-based suicide prevention interventions’.

Our peculiar cultural realities

Whatever strategy is adopted by the government of a nation, it MUST reflect the cultural and social contexts of any nation-state. Such strategy must be ‘multisectoral, involving not only the health sector but sectors such as education, labor, social welfare, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics and the media’ (WHO). Additionally, systematic frameworks must be put in place to provide clear objectives, patterns, performance indicators, budgeting etc. with a proper structure to monitor and evaluate results. Or else sustainability will be far from actualization.

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The media can help by responsible reporting

While it is the responsibility of journalist and the media to provide factual information of issues of public concern, the approach of suicide news reportage must be regarded as sensitive as it actually is. The importance place of the media spurred this year’s World Suicide Prevention day’s theme dubbed- The role of the media in suicide prevention

Implementing early identification management plans

Suicide tendencies stem from certain behavioral patterns such as depression, isolation and other mental health problems which have unprecedentedly risen as a result of the global lock-down. Hence, early identification management cannot be overemphasized. This requires a concerted effort of the community, schools, government and most importantly the home.

The case of students academic performance

Speaking specifically about the educational institution, some published research works have highlighted the interrelationship between suicide behavior and academic behaviors amongst students chiefly between ages 10 and 19. Premium Times reported a sad story in April 2019 about a student who took his life as a result of his poor academic performance in two outstanding courses that delayed his graduation for two years. A poisonous substance claimed his life!

Barry Weatherall (



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Abigail Olajire

Abigail Olajire

A communication researcher with a keen interest in the media and developmental policies that has the propensity to spur growth