The Coordinator, Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), Dr. Emeka Ogbolu, said its “One More Day” campaign has succeeded in saving more than 50 lives of Nigerians who were on the verge of committing suicide.
He also revealed that up till February this year, the organisation has received 150 calls from people in crisis, those severely depressed and clueless about living another day more.
The campaign that was launched in March 2017, is an initiative of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for suicide prevention through research, crisis intervention, health education and early treatment of depression and drug abuse.
Ogbolu, who made the remark at a recent media briefing in Lagos, said more than 50 per cent of the calls are from students.
He said: “ Nigeria has no structured suicide prevention initiative strategy and we realised we needed to do something. The number of cases we were seeing at LUTH alone, on average after a five-year period, at least two cases a month of suicide related incidents.”
According to him, with the campaign, SURPIN, was able to get people who were at the point where they thought there was no hope to choose to live one more day for starter.
“And then one more day becomes another day and through that we were able to keep them alive,” he explained.
The coordinator said going by their findings, those who made calls to their hotlines are majorly those with depression and substance abuse problems. He said others face financial challenges and relationship problems.
“If we can curb these issues and improve resilience, we can go a long way in cutting rate of suicide in the country.
Ogbolu explained that with the expiration of the “One More Day” in March and the launch of “Another Day” campaign this year, the group felt it is was important to take stock and remind the public of such an initiative and solicit for support.
Speaking on cooperation, he said the Ministry of Health has indicated interest and encouraged them while the West Africa Health Organisation sent a team to observe their activities and understudy their approach.
He, therefore, called for more commitment from stakeholders to work together to reduce suicide in the country. He said a more coordinated effort is needed to address the issue particularly in school.
Ogbolu added that with the influence they wielded, religious leaders must also be involve in the campaign.
Coordinator, Logistics, SURPIN, Dr. Kafayah Ogunsola said suicide is now the third leading cause of death among the youth. She said the group wants to consolidate on the success of the campaign to build resilience among them particularly the students.
According to her, the group plans to increase the awareness of SURPIN toll free hotlines and empower over 100 volunteers they have through training.
Ogunsola also revealed plans to establish more zonal centres to make more meaningful impact.