Social media network like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, and IMO is the leading cause of suicides among young people according to Dr Olusola Oluwanuga, a Consultant Psychiatrist with the National Hospital Abuja.
Oluwanuga, who is also Head of Psychiatric Unit, stated this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.
She said the advent of social media had both good and bad impact on young people, noting that it had taken the place of family interaction, friendship, and communal living.
She said consistent use of the internet had caused isolation among individuals; and which has affected socialisation and interaction with those they should be communicating with, leading to depression and lack of resilience to handle stress.
“Today it is difficult to find families sitting, eating and watching movies together, rather parents and children are always on their phones with no opportunity to discuss burning issues.
“In offices workers are on the internet and social media interacting with people they sometimes do not see or know, joining invisible communities and various chat rooms on their phones.
“Such individuals are often exposed to right or wrong ideas likely to have negative impact on their mental health as a result of taking hard drugs.
This further alters their brain and ability to make right decisions resulting to depression and suicide.
“Due to lack of resilience to handle challenges, some young people also obtain different chemicals such as snipers, to end their lives,’’ she said.
Dr. Oluwanuga stressed that when young people were faced with challenges and stress, with no opportunity to speak to anyone, they might become frustrated, emotionally stressed and might consider suicide.
She also noted that the social media was making young people lose their confidence, self-esteem and identity.
“Social media has also had negative impact on some people where they put fake pictures, display fake riches, or show of wealth and well-being on Instagram and Facebook with fake identities and location.
” This fake actions sends wrong signals to indiscerning youths giving them a feeling of extreme sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, unworthiness, and depression that later culminates in suicides or suicidal thoughts.
She called on all stakeholders- government, religious leaders, traditional heads, medical experts and spirited individuals to all put hands on deck to curb the menace of suicides in our society .
Is the internet really a cause of suicides? Some persons believes the methods of taking ones own life (such as use of snipper) are learned from the internet.