Health  

Mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention

suicide_shadowTHE mentally sick has always been thought to be possessed of devils and their problems have been misunderstood or ignored.

The effects of some mental disorders can be quite crippling. Fear and anxiety can be so great as to make life a nightmare. Disorders affecting intelligence result in perplexity, bewilderment and confusion. In thought disorders the world around the mentally sick is misinterpreted and perceptions are distorted and frightening in nature.

When the mood is affected as in depression joy and happiness vanishes and all that remains is unrelieved gloom. At times this gloom may be so great and the outlook on life may appear so futile that the person cannot see any solution but to end life by his own hands. Life is good, it is the illness that is making someone to feel so gloomy and want to end it all but the truth is that you worth so much and very valuable, don’t let the illness stops you to achieve life’s purposes, stop the illness and achieve your great potentials. Seek medical attention for mental health issues and you can stop the mental illness from harassing you if you seek mental health and treatment from qualified approved health professionals and health care facilities. Stay positive to life, be healthy mentally and enjoy life to the fullest.

A person who is struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide should be given adequate support to recover and regain complete physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well being.

Suicide is related to mental illness, alcohol abuse, painful loss, exposure to violence and social isolation, which may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Risk factors like stressful events, relationship problems, financial difficulties public humiliation could trigger suicidal act. Vulnerable individuals should be supported and connected with others that could be of help during difficult times thereby making suicidal behavior less likely. Suicidal related thought and behaviors are common among the youths. Suicide is rated one of the top three causes of death among the young people.

Having a mental disorder and or a substance use disorder can greatly increase the risk for suicidal behaviors. Suicide rates are higher among individuals with mood disorders such as major depression and bipolar disorders. Alcohol and substance abuse are second to mood disorders as risk factors for suicidal behaviors. Some medical conditions, including cancer and chronic diseases that impair physical functioning and causes chronic pain, may increase the risk of suicidal behaviors.

These are warning signs of suicide: Talking about wanting to die, looking for a way to kill oneself, talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose, talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain, talking about being a burden to others, increasing the use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious, agitated or reckless, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing or feeling isolated, showing rage or talking about seeking revenge, displaying extreme mood swings. The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk of suicide.
What to do to prevent suicide: If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide; do not leave the person alone, remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, take the person to an emergency room or seek help from medical or mental health professionals.

Preventive measures

1) Mental and emotional wellbeing: Healthy and empowered individuals, families and communities. Injury and violence free living/society. Happenings around us which threaten human survival through violence, indiscriminate killings and bombings need urgent mental health intervention. Focus should be on ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill prone to misusing the weapons as some issues on violence around us are due to cases of untreated and undiagnosed mental illnesses.

2) Clinical and community preventive services: Preventing substance abuse and excessive alcohol use.

3) Treatment and support services to prevent suicidal behaviors.

The youths are the future of the nation and are mostly affected as they are prone to psychological stresses with the inadequate defense mechanism to cope with life stresses. Let us nurture them to have a positive mental health and collectively we shall build our great nation.

Be positive to life, have positive attitude to mental health and seek help when necessary about life issues. Take responsibility for your life and health. It is your right and responsibility to live and be healthy. Your wealth is your life and health.

*Adebola Adekoya is a United States trained
psychiatrist

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