The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to speak out on depression to prevent suicide.
Owoseni spoke at the Ordinary Meeting and Scientific Conference organised by the Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba in Lagos.
Theme of the conference is: “No Health without Mental Health, Break the Silence: Role of Pharmacology in Suicide Prevention.”
He said: “Police is the first respondent in everything you can think of and it is the way people interact with us that sometimes make us suggest they need mental checkup.
“There are so many things that can lead to suicide.
“From our own point of view and looking at the trends of suicide lately, there is what we call depression which has not been accepted in Africa.
“People need to speak out and it is when families are bold enough to share their problems that we know how to handle them and prevent suicide cases.
“Although, some people will say depression is an African thing; it is important we do self appraisal once in a while to know when the workload is high.
“We should also study people around us, break the silence and talk to people as the same depression leads to domestic violence.
“In foreign countries, the victims share their experiences and they were healed,” he said.
The police chief said that because of stigmatisation, some families had refused to speak out on what went wrong with them, which he said, was a major challenge.
He said some people believe that committing suicide would save their faces from disgrace just like some people attach spiritual beliefs to it.
Owoseni, however, urged the academics to educate the public on the causes of suicide and other depression-associated ailments.