The Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), a not-for-profit organization, with presence in over 34 states of the country and the FCT, is the flagbearer when it comes to suicide prevention in Nigeria. Through its hotlines and ingenious programmes it has saved many lives. In the past 4 years it has engaged in various activities and has consistently come up with creative ways of creating awareness and promoting suicide prevention, including the use of drama during its 2020 national conference.
This year is no exception, and it has again come up with a unique way of spreading the word. The 2021 national conference with the theme: The Youth - Connecting & Strengthening Future Mental Wellbeing, keeps focus on young people, and the highlight of the conference, will be the finale of a national secondary schools’ debate where 6 finalist schools will debate the topic ‘Can the mental health bill reduce suicide among young Nigerians?’.
There was a first round of debates where secondary schools across the country sent in videos of students debating on the topic, COVID-19 has increased suicide among young Nigerians. The entries were invited from the six geopolitical zones of the country and Lagos as a zone, which is how SURPIN is zonally structured. Experts screened the first round entries and one school emerged from each of the zones, except the North East, which did not send any entries. The 6 finalists’ debate entries will be played live on the day of the conference and based on scores from a panel of judges and online votes, 1st, 2nd and 3rd places will be awarded, with prize monies (250,000, 150,000 and 100,000 respectively). The conference will also feature a powerful keynote lecture from a versatile mental health specialist and psychiatrist, Prof Obindo, that promises to be enlightening.
This year the conference will be a Hybrid one (physical and virtual) in line with the new normal imposed by COVID-19.
The aim of the conference is to create awareness of mental wellbeing among the youth, because they are the future leaders of our country and they need to be aware, and in doing so, they can help promote mental health and suicide prevention.