Growing up in the 70s and early 80s was fun. No cable TV but we caught our fun watching NTA. Forget that it was black and white, forget that it transmitted for only a limited period each day…yes monkey no fine but him mama like am so. There were also several local cinemas that offered a bouquet of films. In my hood, it was God dey cinema. The offerings were majorly American, Indian and Chinese movies. They all had their uniqueness and selling points.
The American films had superheroes with blazing guns. The guymen or actors were Vic Moro, Lon Green, Chuck Norris and typically actor no dey die because actor must fight the last fight. In Indian films, it was all about singing and dancing. They never kissed. Chinese films were easier to characterize. Simply… you kill my papa and mama, I go on exile or into hiding, train and come back and kill you. Period… no long story. Then Nollywood arrived and with it the comical city and village divide. Village boy does well in the city, comes home, gives old men and women money and one with a Ph.D. in village wickedness goes to a juju priest and wahala starts. After several wahalatious times, bros is taken to a pastor and pronto deliverance happens and the old woman or man responsible goes mad, confesses and dies. Meanwhile, bros from city becomes rich again. But then, Nollywood has since upgraded and moved on.
A new set of actors has appeared on the scene. They are both actors and directors in their respective movies. The world is their stage, facebook and twitter are their theaters but they do not stay back to watch the movie they starred in as actors. In these brand of movies, actor dey die.
Welcome to the era of suicide and crimes of passion. We have been inundated with news of both. The ways and means are myriad. Jumping into the Lagoon, hanging, taking rat poison, Sniffing insecticides and gun related ones. Truly, Nigerians have started learning bad things. From being the happiest people to those who haff learn bad things. Na who bad things epp!
The commonest conditions responsible for suicide are depression and psychosis. The American national institute of mental health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder which causes severe symptoms that affect the way the individual feels, thinks and handles daily activities. Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include intense feeling of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite, difficulty in sleeping or sleeping too much. They also include feelings of worthlessness , difficulty in concentrating or making decisions and thoughts of death or suicide. Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.
The risk factors that may make people more vulnerable to depression include changes in certain chemicals agents in the brain, familial (depression can run in families), personality type especially those with low self esteem and environmental factors. The environmental factors include continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse and financial difficulties.
Treating depression commonly involves medications and behaviour modification therapy. There are, however, self-help strategies that have been found to help those with depression and prevent suicide. They include staying active and being around people because isolation often worsens depression. Managing daily activities in a way that prevents the individual from being overwhelmed. Others include refusing to engage in self-blame and making it a point of duty each day to identify one positive reason to make it through the day.
As a people, we need to revamp our institutional capacity for both medical and spiritual or faith-based counseling. Truth be told, every suicide is a demonstration of our collective failure at being our brother’s keeper. We need to curb this new culture of suicide but this can only happen through collective action. We need to go back to being our brother’s keeper. If the good Samaritan had declared only ‘it is well’ to the man beaten and battered by robbers rather than pay for him to be taken care of, the scriptures may not have recorded his actions for posterity.