The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Benin City (FNPH Benin) in collaboration with Friends of Uselu Community (FUCC), the Association of Psychiatric Nurses of Nigeria (APNON), and International Association of Psychiatric Nurses (IAPN) yesterday 10th October, 2019 joined other health institutions in the globe to mark the World Mental Health Day with the theme “Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention”. This is in sync with the initiative and vision of the World Health Organisation (WHO) that in 1992 set aside October 10th of every year to commemorate global mental health awareness. In his keynote address, the Chief host of the event, Dr. S.O. Olotu, the Medical Director of the hospital, said that the theme was picked by the WHO to address an exigent area of mental health advocacy with the aim of mitigating or preventing suicide in the world. Dr. Olotu emphasized that if the contributing factors of suicide are known, then government, health institutions and other health care providers would be able to legislate and help people to prevent suicidal attempts/suicide. The guest speaker, Dr. Israel O. Aina, (Consultant Psychiatrist) who spoke on the topic “Suicide Prevention Global Challenges & Future Directions” asserted that the growing rate of suicidal attempts which have become a global health problem is the major motivating factor for this year’s theme. According to the WHO, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the world and about 800,000 persons commit suicide every year. Dr. Aina, who defined suicide as the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, said this is occasioned either by physical or sexual abuses, bullying (cyber bullying), stress, poverty, use of hard drugs, job loss, problem at work, divorce or separation, death of a loved one, family history of suicide or violence etc. and is usually perpetuated with the use of weaponry or instruments such as: firearms, pesticides, sniper, knives, among others. Some warning signs of suicide include: • Verbal signs; written or verbalized with suicidal contents; • Depression or withdrawn to oneself; • Putting affairs in order as to give away valued possessions; • Behaving recklessly such as: fighting and breaking rules; • Showing a marked change in behaviour, attitudes or appearance; and • Physical changes such as loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, change of sexual interest. The guest speaker advised that: the promotion of good health, reduction in the stigma associated with mental illness, improved access to evidence based mental health care early, identification of mental illness in person and addressing it properly, improved the health condition, keeping oneself busy and exercising regularly, avoiding risky behaviour, avoiding the use of hard drugs, maintenance of good interpersonal relationships, etc. are expedient in maintaining good mental health which would help to forestall suicidal attempts. The event which was held in the Conference Hall of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital at Uselu was attended by Management, Heads of Department, Staff, Students, Journalists, Media Officials (such as: NTA, EBS, & Silverbird Television Stations), and invited Guests. Having been enlightened by the lecture, some members of staff and Students Nurses of the hospital went on a tour around the Uselu and New Benin environs to educate members of the public on Mental Health and to ‘say no to Suicide’. Suicide is Confusing, Painful & Mysterious, but it is Preventable. Prevent & ‘Say No to Suicide’ Today. Talk to Experts in Mental Health Today.
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