1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Suicidal behaviour is a global cause of death and disability. Worldwide, suicide is the fifteenth leading cause of death, accounting for 1.4% of all deaths (WHO 2014). More than 800,000 people die by suicide each year in addition to suicidal thoughts, suicide deaths and nonfatal suicide attempts also warrant attention in total. Lifetime prevalence rates are approximately 9.2% for suicidal ideation and 2.7% for suicide attempt globally (Nock et al. 2018a). Suicide ideation and attempts are strongly predictive of suicide deaths; which can result in negative consequences such as injury, hospitalization, and loss of liberty; and exert a financial burden of billions of dollars on society (CDC 2010a; Nock et al. 2018a, b; WHO 2014). Taken together, suicide and suicidal behaviour comprise the nineteenth (19th) leading cause of global disease burden (i.e., years lost to disability, ill-health, and early death), and the sixth and ninth leading cause of global disease burden among men and women aged 15 to 44 years respectively (WHO 2018). By any measure, there is an urgency to better understand and prevent suicide and suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour is any deliberate action with potentially life-threatening consequences, such as taking a drug overdose, deliberately crashing a car. Suicidal behaviours often occur in response to a situation that the person views overwhelming (Hudgens, 2003), such as social isolation, death of a loved one, emotional trauma, serious physical illness, aging, unemployment, or financial problems, guilt feelings or dependence on alcohol or other drugs. Suicidal behaviour has been reported in technically advanced countries of the world as a leading cause of psychiatric emergencies among children and adolescents (Robert, 2018), and one of the strongest predicators of psychiatric admission for adolescents, he concluded. In the United States, for example, suicidal ideation and attempts among adolescents have been reported as being increasingly recognized as important public health problem (Stone, 2011). Epidemiological studies suggest that lifetime prevalence of suicidal attempts among high school students range from 3.5 to 9.0 per cent (Andrews & Lewinsohn, 2012). Suicidal behaviour is any deliberate action and inaction intended to end one’s life in other to escape unbearable suffering or to help change adverse conditions of living (Kerkhof, 2010). It is the intentional act of taking one’s own life or the destruction of one’s own interests or prospects (Yerkes, 1994; Shaffer, 2011). Maris (2012) described suicidal behaviours as problem-solving behaviours. He opined that people with such behaviours often believe that the real, lasting solution to their problems is to die. Robert (2018) described suicidal behaviour as any deliberate action with potentially life-threatening consequences, such as taking a drug overdose or deliberately crashing a car. Suicidologists typically call those suicidal actions and inactions or behaviours in which the person dies, completed (fatal) suicide, and those in which the person survives, attempted (non-fatal) suicide (Canetto, 2011). George (2007) viewed suicidal behaviour in a metaphorical sense as willful destruction of one’s self-interest. Walter, Vaughan, Armstrong, Krakoff, Maldononado, Tiezzi and McCarthy (2005) defined suicidal behaviour as intent to commit suicide or as having ever attempted suicide in lifetime. It implies all the intentions, ideations or actions pertaining to, leading to or involving suicide (Kastenbaum & Kastenbaum, 2013; George, 2007). Suicidal behaviour demonstrates that something is fundamentally wrong either with the individual or with the situation in which the individuals exist or with both the individual and the situation. Suicidal behaviour is a conglomeration of some seemingly insurmountable personal problems of individuals which makes them think that the only solution is to die. Their main purpose is to seek a solution to an overwhelming problem. Kerkof (2010) stated that suicidal behaviour is sometimes associated with the mental health status of individuals who cannot cope with their lives. Suicidal behaviour involves not only the pain, but also the individual’s unwillingness to tolerate that pain, the decision not to endure it, and the active will to stop it (Kerkof, 2010). Continuing, he maintained that suicidal behaviuor is more prevalent among young women, people with low socio-economic status such as low educational levels, the unemployed, the disabled, the divorced, the separated, and those with terminal illnesses. This view was supported by Bertolote, Fleischmann, De-Leo, and Wasserman (2010). The picture that emerges is that of powerless groups or those with little chances to improve themselves, facing problems in finding a place in the society, and having many emotional and relationship problems as well. In this study, therefore, suicidal behaviour denotes both social conditions and individual maladaptation. The causes of suicidal behaviour are not fully understood; however, this behaviour clearly results from the complex interaction of many factors. Although many risk factors have been identified, they mostly do not account for why people try to end their lives. In this research, the recent developments will be described in and empirical psychological science about the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Personality and individual differences, cognitive factors, social aspects, and negative life events are key contributors to suicidal behaviour. Most people struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviours do not receive treatment. Some evidence suggests that different forms of cognitive and behavioural therapies can reduce the risk of suicide reattempt, but hardly any evidence about factors that protect against suicide is available.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ideally, students should be made to study under conducive environment without undue stress. Conducive environment constitutes of a condition devoid of economic, financial, social, and psychological problems. This, however appears not to be so with students in Nigerian universities. According to Eneh (2018), many Nigerian university students face some excruciating economic difficulties such as inability to pay their school fees, purchase essential textbooks for their courses, feed and clothe themselves or cope with academic work, and obtain good medical care while on campus. These unaccomplished needs among others may culminate in suicidal behaviours (Eneh, 2018). . These suicidal behaviours such as completed suicides, attempted suicides, suicidal ideation, and indirect self-destructive behaviours (such as alcoholism, substance abuse, possession of lethal weapons, cultism, sex abuse, and armed robbery) by students in our universities constitute significant public health concerns. The question therefore arises as to whether there are cases of suicidal behaviours among Nigerian tertiary institution students in University of Jos, Plateau state. If there are, which preventive measures against such behaviours are appropriate? These, in the main, constitute the problem of the study.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the challenges of suicidal tendencies on Nigerian tertiary institution. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Suicidal behaviour has no significant influence among students of University of Jos
H1: Suicidal behaviour has a significant influence among students of University of Jos
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results of the findings from the data analysed on the challenges of suicidal tendencies is hoped to enable health educators to suggest intervention and prevention strategies appropriate for students at risk for suicidal behaviours. It would help sociologists and other educators to provide intervention programmes to prevent premature deaths due to suicides across the lifespan in Nigeria. It is expected also that the results of the findings from the study will help to reduce the harmful after-effects associated with suicidal behaviours and traumatic impacts of suicide on family members and significant others, as well as reduce the social stigma attached to family members of people who commit or attempt suicide. This might be achieved if the isolation and stigmatization of family members of suicide victims are prevented or minimized. The finding will also help to ginger up the various universities in Nigeria to establish suicide prevention strategy centres with telephone ‘hotline’ services. These centres should be managed by professionally trained suicidologists or medical practitioners versed in identification and treatment of risk factors associated with suicidal behaviours. It will also help the psychiatrists and suicidologists to identify early enough students with signs of depression, schizophrenia and other mood problems and to treat them before they start attempting suicide. It will also help guidance counsellors to plan out programmes of activities to enable the students reduce incidences and prevalence of suicidal ideation through a co-ordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling in the universities. A well-coordinated and planned programme of guidance counselling for students in our universities, it is expected, would decrease risk and/or increase protective factors against such suicidal ideation behaviour. This, is expected, would inform the development of effective interventions by university authorities and ministries of education in Nigeria to prevent suicidal and self-destructive behaviours that often co-occur. It is even more crucial to investigate the prevalence of suicidal behaviours among students of universities since unidentified suicidal behaviours are most likely to ruin their future. The result of the present finding, it is hoped, would help to improve social integration and social regulation and might reduce social isolation and social withdrawal among the students of Nigerian universities. In other words, it might help improve the relationship between the individual student and the social setting in which he or she finds him/herself, and also improve further research and expansion of body of knowledge.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the challenges of suicidal tendencies on Nigerian Tertiary Institution, a case study of University of Jos, Plateau state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Suicide: Is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. The most commonly used method of suicide varies between countries, and is partly related to the availability of effective means.
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