September is suicide prevention month and the country needs heightened interventions to control the alarming cases of suicide, especially in the wake of Covid-19.
In July, the Director of Criminal Investigations revealed that at least 483 people committed suicide in a span of three months, which is more than the total number of suicide cases recorded in 2020.
According to DCI Boss George Kinoti, the number is alarming and the highest to be recorded in the country.
“We have never recorded such a high number of suicides before and this is not only alarming but calls for urgent remedial measures,” said DCI boss George Kinoti during a press briefing.
The youngest person reported to have committed suicide within this period was nine years while the oldest was 76 years old.
The data was compiled between April and June 2021 by the Department of Operations at DCI.
The social and economic constraints occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated mental health challenges in most households, from the young to the old and it’s high time we make suicide prevention a priority and help raise awareness about how we can each support each other better.
Data from the World Bank puts suicide mortality rates in Kenya at 6.1 people in every 100,000, with men being in the highest risk category.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year and 77% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Suicide is also reportedly the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.
Causes of Suicide
Many suicides are impulsive and are attributed to the inability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness as well as experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation.
Early last month, an Orphaned 14-year-old Student attempted suicide over lack of School fees, which prevented her from joining form one.
In the same month, A woman in Nyandarua county committed suicide when she couldn’t raise her son’s school fees to join form one.
Cases of distraught young people taking to social media with suicidal messages, some of whom ended up committing suicide have also been common.
Stigma and Taboo
The stigma surrounding Mental Health continues to be a major obstacle for people to ask for help when faced with mental health challenges. Our society is also not trained to be supportive and how to support victims.
Suicides are preventable and it’s high time we heightened interventions to Promote National Suicide Prevention.