Although many people assume that doctors are exempted from ill health, a psychiatrist, Dr Jubril Abdulmalik, has said that doctors top the list of professional’s that commit suicide world over.
Abdulmalik spoke on ‘Curbing the Increasing Trend of Suicide in Nigeria: The Role of NMA’ at the 2019 Physician’s week of the Nigerian Medical Association, Oyo State Branch.
Dr Abdulmalik, a consultant psychiatrist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, stated that within the medical profession, highest rate of suicide was recorded among anaesthetists, followed by surgeons and psychiatrists in that order.
According to him, “we listen to a lot of emotional pain and part of the training is to learn to be professional and not to take it personally. If you take it personally, then you will also drown in the ocean of emotional anguish that you listen to everyday.
“Many doctors have been battling with depression silently. Physicians are the most difficult to treat; whatever they tell you when they go to see other specialists, they will argue.
“I have anecdotal stories of at least five doctors that I know that have died in questionable circumstances over the past one year and suicide was suspected.”
Dr Abdulmalik stated that suicide, the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, is the second leading cause of death among age 15 to 29.
According to him, in many cases, there is a mental illness problem in the background.
He added, “even when there is no diagnosis of mental illness when an individual gets to the point that ‘death is better than for me to continue to live,’ it means the person is experiencing such intense emotional pain and distress that they consider continuing living more of a burden.”
The expert, however, assured that all causes of suicide are avoidable.
According to Dr Abdulmalik: “Someone that attempts suicide is a cry for help and we cannot curb suicide without addressing mental health issues, which are unseen hands behind attempted suicide and acts of completed suicide.”
He, however, said that mental ill-health occurs around all life span, social status and gender, and as such, each individual’s resilience and vulnerability must be taken into consideration in tackling their risk factors for suicide.
Abdulmalik quoted World Health Organisation (WHO) saying that a million suicide deaths occur every year, about one suicide case every 40 seconds.
The medical expert said Nigerians such stop considering suicide as foreign since Nigerian history had stories of Sango, God of thunder and others that committed suicide.
He stated that curbing suicide requires coordination and collaboration across all sectors, including the reduction of access to means of suicide and early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress.Read Full Story