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Dr Mena's Diaries - Suicide Attempt Among Adolescents

Today is Friday, adolescent clinic holds every Friday at the Federal Medical Centre and I sincerely hope that Jenny's parents will keep to their doctor's appointment and bring her for follow up today.... I also do hope that Jenny's completely fine now.

Please carefully go through Jenny's encounter as suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15-24year-olds according to the CDC and prevention.....Also note that, suicide is a medical disorder and you should see the mental health physicians for therapy...

Jenny was a seventeen year old female secondary School leaver who was rushed into the emergency room (ER) very floppy, sweating profusely and frothing from the mouth. She smelt of alcohol and kerosene and also had her clothes doused in Palm oil and herbs....

Doctor! Doctor!! Nurse please help, is a routine song that follows as the kids are rushed into the ER. She was accompanied by her parents, other relatives and concerned neighbours who kept urging her to vomit... Alright, Everyone stop!! please excuse us to do our job, the team lead requested.. We need just one relative here for now, and her mum Mrs. Eka volunteered to stay back.

In the suicide note, Jenny lamented how her parents never loved her evidenced by always using mean words on her at the slightest opportunity, "good for nothing child"

In the suicide note, Jenny lamented how her parents never loved her evidenced by always using mean words on her at the slightest opportunity, "good for nothing child", "you are a disgrace", "if you continue like this, you will never amount to anything" etc. Jenny poured out much more content of her heart that was shattered by her own parents in that note..........(emotional bullying does as much harm or even worse than physical bullying)

save the date

She had developed low self esteem and kept away from social activities including participating in Teens activities in church because her parents will descend on her should she make any mistake on the stage. So she rather kept to herself more often...

However, the straw that broke the camel's back, was when her mother openly called her a shameless prostitute in their compound to the hearing of everyone because she had gone to get some novels from Uncle James, their neighbour's twenty six old nephew who had come visiting following the industrial action at the University...

Jenny could not explain the shame she felt throughout the whole week, that she remained indoors and refused to talk to anyone

Although Jenny agrees in her note that she liked Uncle James and had developed some emotional attachment to him because he was caring and always told her how beautiful and intelligent she was, Uncle J.J as she fondly calls him, had never made any romantic advances towards her.... Anytime J.J told her, she will make a good lawyer because of how well she critically analyzed and appraised situations, he seemed to her like her mentor and her hero.... It raised her worth only to be dampened by her parents the next moment.... 

At the end of the note, she apologized to uncle J.J for not meeting his expectations of becoming a lawyer and she wished she wasn't taking her own life so that one day, uncle J.J may find her old and beautiful enough to marry her off her parents' house and end the torture she went through constantly....

Back to Jenny, she was unconscious, had respiratory difficulty and low blood glucose as side effects of the large quantities of alcohol she took and attempts at making her vomit... As Mrs. Eka sat beside her watching the intravenous fluid being set up and oxygen therapy ongoing, she cursed the day she gave birth to Jenny...

Few days into admission, Jenny had come around though she was still in respiratory distress, moody and in a world of her own. She refused to talk to her parents or even her siblings...

The psychiatric team had come to review her when she requested that her mother should send for uncle J.J and Mrs Eka began to rain abuses on her again. In Mrs. Eka's opinion, she was trying her best to raise a decent child who will turn out to be a virtous woman..
The medical team had to caution her, infact a counselling session was arranged separately for Mrs. Eka and her husband....

Forty-five minutes later, Uncle J.J arrived ER, and Jenny's countenance lightened up. Uncle J.J I'm sorry I let you down, she said while letting a tear drop from her eyes. To Jenny, James was the only person that mattered, he was the only reason she studied hard for her Joint Admission and Matriculation Board examinations and got good scores so that she can hear him shower her with praises again... She had refused to talk to her doctors till J.J arrived the scene.

J.J , though considering Jenny as a bright teenager who was more of an introvert, he had never imagined that she went through all that trauma because anytime he saw her, she was always happy... He never had an inkling of the emotions that Jenny had built for him because, they spent very brief, cheerful moments together and to him she was just a growing child....

Anyways, Jenny was discharged home after about two weeks following multi-disciplinary therapy for her and her parents who had become sober and softened towards her. She promised her doctors, she will be good and adhere to their medical counsel....

Click Image to Apply

For some others, they're not as lucky as Jenny was and the family is thrown into mourning and pain...

What is your approach to your teenagers/ adolescents who seemed difficult to you like Jenny? The "iron hand" way like most of our parent did?

You can seek professional help, if you're finding it difficult with your adolescents. Don't raise a damaged child who will become a damaged adult. The child psychologists, adolescent mental health physicians, Paediatricians are all there to help you out.

Parenting is not an easy task and no matter how hard you try, you are just not perfect for some kids and you would need help...

For many of us, our experiences as kids, adolescents/teenagers were not different from Jenny's, some were even worse. Many times, I've heard adults especially females recall their experiences of their parents going as far as instilling pepper into their private parts because they were stubborn or said to have gone overboard.

Though, we didn't choose suicide but you will agree that many a time, what our parents called discipline was "parental bullying" or even abuse. But will you blame them? Personally, I totally do not because it seems like parental bullying was passed down from several generations.

In my years of practice as a Paediatrician, I've come realize that parents also have fears, worries about how their kids will turn out, so that no one blames them for not doing a good job. But they loose control of the entire situation at the end...

Nowadays, i still get advice from other need to handle this your kid with an "iron hand"...what does iron hand even mean? Lol...

You and I, can make a difference!
#Say #No to parental #bullying!!!.

And to my lovely adolescents out there, I say #Suicide is #never an #option. You can see us at the adolescent health clinic for help

Happy New Month my people!

**Real names withheld

Bio: Dr. Onotume Okemena Esther, popularly called Dr. Mena by her friends. Obtained her primary medical degree MBBS degree from University of Port Harcourt in 2010. Currently a senior registrar in Paediatrics. In her spare time she writes mainly to educate the populace on health issues.


  1. Many of the people that turned out badly today are products of dysfunctional homes and bad parenting. Raising a child is a big task that demands so much wisdom and dedication because it involves taking care of the child both physical, emotional and otherwise. Sadly, many parents do not know this. A lot of people need to be thought the art and skill of parenting. Thank God for Jenny.

  2. good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. doctors accepting new patients in USA

  3. The post you've shared here is basically informative because it contains some best knowledge which is extremely essential on behalf of me for adolescent mental health treatment simi valley ca . Thanks for posting it. Keep it up.


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