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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-124

Suicide announcement on social media in Nigeria

1 Department of Psychiatry, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
2 Department of Psychiatry, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Musa Usman Umar
Department of Psychiatry, Bayero University, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_27_19

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Background: Suicidal behaviors are recently being documented on social media and the Internet. Online social media such as Facebook represent a new dimension for global information transfer. Suicidal behaviors and their consequence on social media are yet to be evaluated in professional articles. This article seeks to discuss the potential effects of suicidal behaviors on Facebook and to bring forth the need for awareness among health-care professionals and the general public. Methodology: We present ten cases of suicidal announcement on social media platforms and discuss the challenges associated with social media announcement of suicide. Results: In the ten cases we presented, there were warning signs of suicide posted by the individuals on their Facebook walls, but help was not provided on time or after the incident with resultant completion of suicide. In some of the cases, there was an attempt to alert some friends on the suicidal ideation, but most friends thought that the statement was not related to suicide. While in others, caring and empathic support with quick intervention from friends and family led to the rescue of the suicidal individuals. Limitation: The mental health status of the individual before they showed warning signs of suicide was not known, and therefore it was not possible to assess their mental states. Other reports have shown that not all individuals with suicidal signs will proceed to attempt suicide or complete the suicide. Conclusion: Suicide announcement through social media is being recognized as probably a unique form of suicidal behavior which has the potential for prevention of suicide through early identification of high-risk individuals. Suicide knowledge and attitude and less stigmatization toward mental illness may help in encouraging help-seeking behavior and the general populations' understanding of suicidal warning signs while operationalizing methods of assisting such individuals.

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