.Tinubu Seeks Urgent Remedy
The Senate Tuesday raised the alarm over the rising spate of suicides and suicide attempts in parts of the country.
The upper chamber asked the ministries of health at federal and state levels to immediately embark on mental health sensitization and awareness campaign to tackle the problem.
It also asked the health ministry’s at federal and state levels to set up free and accessible mental health stations in all government owned hospitals and clinics across the country.
It urged Nigerians to look out for possible symptoms of unhappiness, depression and to seek professional help where necessary.
The resolutions which were unanimously adopted followed a motion by Senator Oluremi Tinubu on the “Need to ensure affordable and accessible mental health care for Nigerians.”
Senator Shehu Sani who seconded the motion said lamented that it is obvious that many Nigerian families can no longer cater for themselves.
Senator Tinubu in her lead debate noted that the country was ranked 78th happiest nation in the world and 4th in Africa in the 2015 world happiness report.
The Lagos Central lawmaker further said that the report published in March 2017 rated Nigeria as 95th happiest nation out of 155 countries.
She expressed concern that suicide and its attendant causes namely-depression, social and economic problems, low self-esteem, traumatic experiences, physical and emotional abuse, substance abuse, bullying are not alien to Nigerians.
She noted that societal ills, economic difficulty, crime rate which are prevalent in Nigeria are sufficient to send anyone over the edge.
Senator Tinubu expressed sadness that in spite of the dominant presence of suicide catalysts, Nigerian’s mental health support system is barely existent.
She said that access to mental health specialists is expensive and almost nearly out of reach of the poor and middle class.
The effect, she said, is that ‘where pressure becomes overbearing for these persons, they attack people around them or attempt to take their own lives.”
She said that Senate should be concerned that “the incidences of these suicides are made worse by lack of attention, and the belief that depression and other personality and mental disorders are the white man’s sickness and thus does not affect Nigerians.”
Senator Tinubu said that it is sad to remember the case of Ariyo Taiwo who posted on Facebook, indicating that he had a few hours left to live.
“Instead of his post being seen as a plea for help, comments in response mocked and encouraged him. He was said to have taken his life a few hours later,” she said.
The lawmaker reminded his colleagues that the wellbeing of citizens is the primary duty of government.
She reiterated the fact that accessibility of mental health care will also ensure that the teeming number of psychological and psychiatry graduates across the country can put their knowledge to use and be gainfully employed.
Senator Sani (Kaduna Central” said that there is connection between the turbulent polity and the mental state of Nigerians and connection between economic inequality and health of Nigerians.
Sani said that the thinking of the people is that if their situation cannot be addressed that alternative will be to take the law into their hands.
Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North) said that the economic hardship the country found itself is biting harder.
Barau said that government must perform its functions of providing the welfare of the people.
Senator Emmanuel Paulker on his part said that the bitterness in the country is very high.
Paulker said that government at all levels; private sector and individuals should address the problems of the people.
Attempt for the issue to be addressed at a public hearing was defeated.