Suicidal behavior

Bill advertising against a suicidal behavior of overspeeding for drivers
Suicidal behavior includes reckless driving, campaigned against in this 1960s picture of a Nigerian road. Source: NNP

Suicidal behavior, the tendency of committing oneself to an action that could cause death is a growing concern in many parts of the world. In a study, suicide behavior in Lagos was shown to be more prevalent among men than ladies, younger age groups were overpresented, people in interpersonal conflict, who have tendency to blame other people for their life’s problem. Suicide tendency is higher among people with problem solving tendencies, relatives who were responsive to patient’s call for help. Also affecting suicidal behaviour is the day of the week, time of the day, minimized gravity by hospital staff, and moves by relatives to seek hospital assistance. Psychiatric diagnoses are differentially affected by the patient’s sex; females being predominantly hysterical and there are differences between initial and final diagnosis in hospital.

Research suggests there is no observable tendency to suicide behaviour in Lagos to be associated with ethnicity, marital status, religion, education status, residence: mobility, overcrowding, number of friends, place of birth or nationality. Apparently not affecting suicidal behaviour are parental deprivation, season of the year, hospitalization because of continued suicidal threat, or offering of trivial psychiatric diagnosis by Emergency Room non-psychiatric staff.

In the study of psychodynamics of suicide behaviour in Lagos, there was no observable tendency for suicidal behaviour to be associated with depressive illness, appreciable discomfort before attempt, premeditation of the act, drug dependence on contradistinction to drug misuse, abuse of alcohol, and persistent suicidal thought as evidence of suicidalness of patient or persistent expressing of suicidal threat the act. In the closer specific examination of the patient’s relationship with significant people in the patient’s life, there was a tendency for suicidal behaviour to be associated with recent observed objective stress, the features of character disorder in contradistinction to those of psychosis, prognosis viewed as good, relative’s upsurge of desire to give information and confirmed pathological relationship with significant people.

The relationship in suicidal behaviour could not be tested with regard to lack of outside social contact because there was always some outside social contact. In the investigation of the significant people’s perception of the patient, no Nigerian was rated as being socially isolated. Patient’s overall functioning was not seen to be affected by any symptoms. All the relatives tried to ensure recovery of the patient. There was a tendency for relatives not to perceive the suicide attempter as a sick person.

At a cross-cultural level, many similarities were observed between Lagos, Nigeria, and Neward, New Jersey in U.S.A. especially in relation to demographic and psychosocial features while major differences as occurred at the psychodynamic level.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer