RISK FACTORS OF SUICIDE AMONG UNIVERSITY OF BENIN STUDENTS, EDO STATE
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Suicide is a complex behavioural phenomenon that involves taking one’s life by oneself. It is fundamentally a general social and public health problem worldwide (Izadinia, Amiri, Jahromi & Hamidi, 2010) and also a problem that is both very serious and preventable (Amare, Woldeyhannes, Haile, & Yebeabat, 2018).
The social, economic and psychological effects of suicide are unbearable in most societies of the world. Families, organisations and the general society are often thrown into mourning when there is an incidence of suicide. Such depressive mood often impact productivity, create fear and anxiety, reduce value for human existence and cause social unrest; among others.
Suicide account for 1.5% of cause of death and the onset of suicide ideation increases during adolescence in almost every country (Nock, Borges, Bromet, Cha, Kessler & Lee, 2008, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007).
Suicide is the most worrisome psychological problem that significantly increases or leads to death among undergraduates in Nigerian Universities. This might create a lot of public health concern in our universities, organizations, educational, public and private sectors. Suicide ideation is seen as a major psychological killer of humans.
It was observed that humans do not easily admit to commit suicide, while some people tend to die by suicidal acts. It was commonly observed that only those who are diagnosed of anxiety, stress, depression and personality problems are liable to commit suicide.
Hence, about 50% of human(s) who die of suicide acts are not clinically sampled individual(s) or having personality and stress disorder which might result to significant increase in risk of committing suicide among undergraduates of institutions of higher learning, youths, adolescents and young adults.
Suicide ideation constitutes one aspect of suicidal behaviour and refers to the human thoughts that life is meaningless of living, as well as current plans and thereby engages in wishes and thoughts to commit suicide (Pienaar, Rothman, & van der Vijver, 2007). Connor and Nock (2014) opined that the causes of suicidal behaviour are not clearly understood and many researchers have identified various risk factors which do not, most of the time, account for why individuals decide to end their lives.
Suicide ideation, planning, attempts and gestures are all suicidal behaviours (Esfahani, Yasaman & Alavi, 2015). Ducher and Daléry (2004) posit that two major risk factors for suicide attempts are suicide thoughts and ideation since most individuals who have attempted suicide have expressed such thoughts during the months before.
Suicide ideation is defined as thoughts of harming or killing oneself (Institute of Medicine, 2002; Esfahani, Yasaman & Alavi, 2015). Suicide attempt on the other hand is a situation when an individual tried to kill himself/herself but failed. It is sometimes called failed suicide (Wasserman, 2016; O’Connor & Pirkis, 2016).
Different accounts have been given on the statistics of people that commit suicide. For instance, World Health Organization’s (WHO) (2016), reported that over 800,000 people commit suicide per year in the world while World Health Organization Suicide Prevention (SUPRE) Program, gave the statistics to be around one million people annually. Nigeria news media are often awash with reported cases of suicide among Nigerian undergraduates.
For example, the Punch Newspaper of July 10, 2018 reported that a 30year old Nigeria Abuja Law school student committed suicide in Taraba State (Ohai, 2018). In a similar development, 300 level physics/astronomy undergraduate of the University of Nigeria Nsukka’s lifeless body was reportedly found dangling on a suspended rope from a height to confirm that he committed suicide.
In February 2018 too, an undergraduate in Abia State University was said to have committed suicide, because he failed to graduate after two academic sessions in a row. Similar cases of suicide had been reported at the University of Benin in Edo State, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island in Bayelsa State, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Osun State; all in Nigeria and even in far away Bristol University, United Kingdom by a Nigerian Female undergraduate (Ohai, 2018). According to The Guardian Newspaper of 12th June, 2018, Nigeria lost about 80 persons; mostly undergraduates, to suicide in a year.
These cases are cause of lamentations and worries among Nigerians. And the increasing rates of suicide cases continue to pose a big socio-psychological problem to the Nigerian government as well as the international bodies (Nwachukwu, 2018). Cases of suicide however are not limited to the adolescent undergraduates. For example, towards the end of the year 2018, a Nigerian Disco Jockey also reportedly committed suicide owing to disappointment suffered from his woman friend.
This case is aside from those of a banker and another female trader who reportedly jumped into the Lagos Lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge at the Ebute-Metta/Oworonsoki axis in Lagos, Nigeria. These various cases suggest aggression and consequent destruction directed towards self. Suicide has negative effects on a person and his or her environment.
People who attempt suicide and survive may have serious injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, or organ failure. Also, people who survive often have mental health problems such as depression (CDC, 2009a). Suicide also has negative effects on the health of the community. Family, friends, or acquaintances of people who attempt suicide may feel shock, depression, anger, or guilt.
The study of suicidal factors at the transition stage from childhood to adulthood is of especially high priority (Health and Human Services, 2009, 2013; U.S. Public Health Service, 2011; WHO, 2007). From the perspective of public mental health, suicide among young people is one of the main issues to address through effective preventive measures. Therefore it is important to gain as much insight as possible in the risk factors contributing to suicidal behaviour in youth.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Historically, there has been no constant philosophical perspective about suicide. Suicide has been both condemned and glorified throughout the ages. The argument continues even today. According to Eneh (2009), many Nigerian university students face some excruciating economic difficulties such as inability to pay their school fees, purchase essential textbooks for their courses, feed and clothe themselves or cope with academic work, and obtain good medical care while on campus.
These unaccomplished needs among others may culminate in suicidal behaviours (Eneh, 2009). These suicidal behaviours such as completed suicides, attempted suicides, suicidal ideation, and indirect self-destructive behaviours (such as alcoholism, substance abuse, possession of lethal weapons, cultism, sex abuse, and armed robbery) by students in our universities constitute significant public health concerns.
In addition, Merian, 1763 cited in World Health Organization (WHO)  posits that suicide was neither a crime nor a sin. However, irrespective of the types of suicide, the problem of suicide is most critical among adolescents and youths whereby many of them die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, or Stroke.
Despite the WHO vigorous involvement in campaigning to bring the public health burden and impact of suicide to the attention of governments, policy makers and public through the collation and dissemination of statistics, and the development of preventive programmes, the situation seems to be on the increase in recent times and makes this study apt.
Worldwide, suicide is one of the leading causes of death, especially in the 15-30years old age group. Therefore, this study seeks to examine the risk factors predicting suicide behaviour among students in university of Benin, Nigeria. The question therefore arises as to whether there are cases of suicidal behaviours among university students.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the risk factors of suicide among university students. Other specific objectives of the study include;
- To examine the prevalence of suicide among university students
- To examine the causes of suicide attempts among University of Benin students.
- To examine the risks factors predicting suicide among university of Benin students.
- To examine the impact of suicide on the family and society of university of Benin students.
- To examine the relationship between risk factors of suicide and control measures of University of Benin student’s suicidal behaviour.
- To examine the preventive measures that is adopted against suicidal behaviours among university of Benin students.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the prevalence of suicide among university of Benin students?
- What are the causes of suicide attempts among University of Benin students?
- What are the risks factors predicting suicide among university of Benin students?
- What is the impact of suicide on the family and society of university of Benin students?
- What is the relationship between risk factors of suicide and control measures of University of Benin student’s suicidal behaviour?
- What are the preventive measures that are adopted against suicidal behaviours among university of Benin students?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
- : Suicide has no impact on family and society of university of Benin students.
- : Suicide has a significant impact on family and society of university of Benin students.
- : There is no significant relationship between risk factors of suicide and control measures of University of Benin student’s suicidal behaviour.
- : There is a significant relationship between risk factors of suicide and control measures of University of Benin student’s suicidal behaviour.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study is many. The results of the findings from the data analysed on the prevalence of completed suicide and suicidal attempts it is hoped, would enable the health educators to suggest intervention and prevention strategies appropriate for university students at risk for suicidal behaviours.
It would help sociologists and other educators to provide intervention programmes to prevent premature deaths due to suicides across the lifespan in Nigeria. It is expected also that the results of the findings from the study will help to reduce the harmful after-effects associated with suicidal behaviours and traumatic impacts of suicide on family members and significant others, as well as reduce the social stigma attached to family members of people who commit or attempt suicide.
This might be achieved if the isolation and stigmatization of family members of suicide victims are prevented or minimized. The finding will also help to ginger up the various universities in Nigeria to establish suicide prevention strategy centers with telephone ‘hotline’ services.
It will also help guidance counsellors to plan out programmes of activities to enable the students reduce incidences and prevalence of suicidal ideation through a co-ordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling in the universities.
A well-coordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling for students in our universities, it is expected, would decrease risk and/or increase protective factors against such suicidal ideation behaviour. This, it is expected, would inform the development of effective interventions by university authorities and ministries of education in Nigeria to prevent suicidal and self-destructive behaviours that often co-occur.
In other words, it might help improve the relationship between the individual student and the social setting in which he or she finds him/herself, and also improve further research and expansion of body of knowledge.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the risk factors of suicide among university of Benin students.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Suicide: Is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. The most commonly used method of suicide varies between countries, and is partly related to the availability of effective means.
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