6 Ways To Talk About The Elephant In The Room — Guardian Life — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

By Priscilla Emokpaire

20 March 2022   |  
1:00 am

How is suicide talked about in a Nigerian home? The fact is suicide is hardly ever talked about until it is too late. More than ever, it is an important tool to be able to communicate well on dicey topics which include suicide. So how do we talk about suicide? We could try presenting it…

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How is suicide talked about in a Nigerian home? The fact is suicide is hardly ever talked about until it is too late. More than ever, it is an important tool to be able to communicate well on dicey topics which include suicide. So how do we talk about suicide? We could try presenting it like the news broadcast by saying, all statistics show that 1.5 million cases of depression occur yearly in Nigeria. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria has the highest rate of suicide cases in Africa and ranks 6th globally in the suicide ratings. For Nigeria, WHO notes that 17,710 cases of suicide were recorded in 2016 at all ages. Of these number, 8,410 were females while 9,300 were males. The percentage ratio of men to women was 53:47, and then talk to the person about the motivation for suicide OR we could just try these six methods: 

After noting signs like withdrawal, making threats to kill themselves, causing self-harm, mood swings, aggressive behaviour amidst many others, you can ask the question. If you aren’t really sure but you have a strong feeling in your gut, also ask. Research carried out by Dazzi T, Gribble R, Wessely S, Fear NT published in the National Library Of Medicine revealed that there was a statistically significant decrease in suicidal ideation among participants questioned about suicidal thoughts. “Our findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may, in fact, reduce, rather than increase suicidal ideation, and may lead to improvements in mental health in treatment-seeking populations.” Ask questions like; if they are contemplating suicide, ask them if they’ve tried to kill themselves and how they plan to carry out suicide.

2) Don’t be judgmental 

 Do not try to judge anyone with suicidal tendencies. Their feelings are legitimate and should not be brushed aside. Understand that even though you may know how to deal with your emotions quickly, people are different and so are their methods of coping.

3) Ask how they want to be cared for

Do not impose your opinion so they don’t feel like being forced. Instead, ask how they want to be cared for. Doing this enables you to effectively care for them and, in turn, allows them to open up to you, thereby making them feel they are in control.

4) Mind your language   

Be mindful of your tone, words, and body language being used when conveying your message. This is the important factor, as it would determine how the individuals involved would receive your message. You could prevent roadblocks that would make them feel guilty, defensive, unheard, or attacked by just choosing how to approach this conversation. 

5) Listen not advice

Practise active listening by repeating what these individuals say back to them in their own words. This proves to them you are listening and also makes you grasp exactly what they’re saying. It is also a terrible idea to give them a quick fix solution as this may unsettle them. 

According to research, it is best to bring up the topic than not to do anything at all. In fact, it gives them a safe space where they can share their thoughts without being judged. Deep down, they may be looking for someone they could really talk to but are too afraid to ask for help.

6) Follow up commitments  

One of the worst things you could do is make a promise and not follow up. Faltering with commitments aggravates matters instead of helping. If you notice your loved one isn’t following up on their appointments, you can help by tagging along. This reassuring move would make them not feel alone in their battle. 

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