A consultant psychiatrist and the National Coordinator of Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative, Dr Ralphael Ogbolu, has said the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed many Nigerians to suicidal behavior.
Ogbolu said this at a webinar organised by SURPRIN to raise awareness about its forthcoming e-conference with the theme, ‘Together towards Collaborative Resilience’ organised to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day scheduled to hold on September 12.
“This year, Nigeria has been plagued by COVID-19 just like other countries around the world and the attendant uncertainty, disruption of previously normal ways of living have tasked the resilience of a lot of people, and thus exposed many people to several factors that contribute to suicidal behaviours by compromising mental wellbeing.
“We have already seen the impact of this in our hotline calls whereby in the month of May we received about the most calls since inception in 2017. These were most likely as a result of the lockdown and restrictions. We consider a first wave of increased calls, we are concerned that there may be a second wave after the full re-opening as people return to school and begin to face the financial impact of COVID-19, especially such things as bad loans with debtors calling and relationship conflicts, among other things,” Ogbolu said.
He added that the conference would be chaired by the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, while the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.