Perspectives on Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation in Nigeria: A Mixed-Methods Study of Patients, Family Caregivers, Clinicians, and the Public

Dung Ezekiel Jidong, Tarela Juliet Ike, Nusrat Husain, Christopher Francis, M Omair Husain, Shadrack Bitrus Mwankon, Maisha Murshed, John Ezekiel Jidong, David Beshel Jack, Pam Patrick Nyam, Paul Bassett, Juliet Yop Pwajok, Maigari Yusufu Taru, Charles Nnaemeka Nwoga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Suicide and self-harm are global disease burden that contributes significantly to years of lost life and mortality. Despite the increasing rates of suicide and self-harm in Nigeria, this topic is understudied.

METHODS: A mixed-methods design was adopted. Study 1 interviewed n =  18 participants ( n =  11 clinicians; n =  5 patients with a history of self-harm and suicide ideation; and n =  2 caregivers). All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using IPA. Study 2 surveyed n =  562 non-clinical sample about their tolerance toward self-harm and the data was analyzed using One-way ANOVA in SPSS.

RESULTS: Study 1 qualitative findings showed substance use, perceived rejection and social isolation were considered predisposing factors for suicide and self-harm. Cultural and religious beliefs shaped help-seeking behaviours. Although Study 2 found no significant differences in demographic characteristics concerning public tolerance toward persons with a history of self-harm, 64% believed that individuals who died by suicide would face punishment after death; 51% believed that victims of attempted suicide are a source of shame to their families; and 33.8% agreed that dying by suicide is the correct behaviour.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation consider family members and close friends as valuable sources of support. Due to the potential clinical implication of cultural and religious beliefs, as shown in the present study's findings, the authors recommend a co-development of culturally appropriate psychological intervention for persons with a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation to be tested in randomized control trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of suicide research : official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2024

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