The Lagos University Teaching Hospital has initiated a suicide prevention service aimed at combating the rising rate of attempted suicides in the country.

The service is named the Suicide Research & Prevention Initiative and Staff Emotional Care Services, SURPIN/SECS.

There has been intensified focus on depression and suicide after a doctor jumped off the Third Mainland Bridge over the weekend and committed suicide.

“Eighty-five percent of suicides occur in Low and Middle Income Countries, LMIC, of which Nigeria is one,” the service’s co ordinator, Dr. Raphael E. Ogbolu said.

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“In that moment of desperation and utter hopelessness, what people need is a listening ear and support to help them choose to live on. Many of those who are so saved have come to thank God they did not take their lives.

“This is why we must keep trying to reach them, especially at that moment by encouraging them to speak up and not feel ashamed.”

“One way to prevent suicide is to take care of our mental health, especially because depression is a very significant cause of suicide.

“Apart from depression, suicide risk is also associated with substance abuse especially alcohol, chronic painful medical conditions, terminal medical illnesses, social isolation and lack of support and other major mental health problems.

“It is important to note that suicide ideation and risk affect not only adults but can also affect adolescents. Stakeholders and the general public can effectively work together to help reduce the rate of suicide in line with WHO’s goals of reducing it by 10 per cent by 2020.”