SUICIDE: THE EPIDEMIC NOT DISCUSSED
BY BENSON MUROKI
The suicide rate in Kenya is alarming but has not been given enough attention.
With the onset of the Covid-19 virus, loss of lives has been on the headline of almost every national agenda in the globe. Most have died from Corona Virus, a spike in violent crimes, terrorism attacks, and natural disasters. Though we have tried dealing with all these issues, we have completely ignored the fact that more than 700,000 individuals die through suicide annually according to the World Health Organization.
In Kenya, according to a report by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) more than 400 individuals have lost their lives to suicide in the months of May, June, and July 2021. This should be an alarming statistic; however, we still seem relaxed. With the financial, mental, and psychological struggles, every individual is going through during the Covid-19 period, it is understandable that individuals may consider taking their lives as an easy fix.
In Kenya, when the government imposed the curfew regulations in early 2020, many individuals did not cooperate with the government, the problem being fewer working hours meant less income generated. This financial problem proved to be a big blow to the local mwananchi in Kenya.
Mental struggles have proved to be a huge cause of suicide in Kenya. Depression and anxiety have affected the normal lives of many individuals, forcing them to seek ways to deal with these struggles. Many individuals turn to drugs and alcohol to help them deal with the emotional struggles they experience. In this process, alcohol and drugs limit their ability to make informed decisions, therefore, doing activities that may lead to their demise.
Masculinity in its traditional nature has been seen to be really helpful in the growth of a male child, until in recent times where it has been considered as self-destructive. The masculine nature of a man to be less verbal and the strong silent type has led us to question if it is the cause in raising suicide among the male population. In the society, man has been known to deal with his problems on his own even when they are too overwhelming. It is probably time men started to seek for help more.
Violence in homes has also proved to be a huge cause of suicidal deaths in Kenya, due to financial struggles, many African homes have experienced a lot of fights which mostly end up being physical especially to the ladies. It is advisable that couples visit village elders or family counselors to deal with these issues and bring back peace to their homes.
The government should consider educating the public on the effects and factors influencing the rise of Suicidal rates in Kenya while making mental health resources available for the public. We hope to see changes with the introduction of The Kenya Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025.
Benson Muroki is a journalism student at the KCA University