People suffering from depression have been advised to seek medical or psychological guidance as soon as they begin developing symptoms of stress to avoid self-harm or having suicidal thoughts.
According to Dr. Faith Kimeu, a psychiatrist at Machakos Level five-hospital, depression is a real medical challenge, and regretted that cases of people visiting the facility seeking treatment for mental challenges have been increasing in recent years.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Machakos Counseling and Mediation Centre, Charles Musau has also reiterated the importance of sensitization of the community on mental health issues to curb the increasing cases of suicide in the country.
The CEO was addressing suicide issues on Friday to mark the World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th,a day that is set aside to focus on individuals committing themselves to ensure that they give attention to suicide prevention strategies.
Speaking with KNA in his office at Machakos County, Musau pointed out that the youth are the most vulnerable when it comes to suicide and family matters.
Musau added that most youth have negative reactions to issues concerning relationships, especially where they had invested their time and emotions in it and the relationship ends. The youth tend to think of suicide as the only solution to end the pain and the frustrations of failed unions.
“In Machakos County, most of the issues we encounter are relationship related. Most young men and ladies who invested their feelings and time in relationships that did not work tend to establish suicide as the only solution,” Musau said.
The CEO also cited poverty as another cause of suicidal thoughts. He said that lack of employment for the youth has brought them stress that might lead to suicide.
“Musau urged the youth to try to focus on their achievements and the positive side of life. He said that most of the people who have a mental thought on suicide are well off in other areas like businesses and education, yet they focus on their failures and end up committing suicide or thinking of doing so.
“Most people who think of committing suicide are doing well in matters concerning business and maybe education. Therefore, individuals need to shift their mind from focusing on their failures to other things which are working and appreciating life as it is,” advised Musau.
The CEO finally complimented the government and other private firms for the efforts they have put in place to ensure that there are mental health facilities to address the issue, as well as the programs to educate the community on the importance of life.
According to the Kenyan police, almost 500 people are reported to have killed themselves in the first six months of this year, more than the whole of 2020.
The youngest person to take their life was nine years old; the oldest 76. The 483 deaths recorded during the period were a marked increase on the annual average of about 320 cases, the Ministry of Health Reports.
From a police report, Central Kenya this year, so far recorded the highest number of suicide cases, at 181. The Rift Valley region reported 68, Nyanza 67, Nairobi 63, the Eastern region 57, the Western region 29, the Coastal region 14, and Northeastern Kenya three cases so far this year.
The Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti said: “We have never recorded such a high number of suicides before and this is not only alarming but calls for urgent remedial measures.”
Last year, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said 1,442 Kenyans attempted suicide between 2015 and 2018, which it said were conservative figures as only a fraction of the cases were reported.
The organization linked the rise in cases to mental ill-health caused by a breakdown in socio-economic safeguards, saying it was the “last resort and path of escape for individuals with unaddressed mental health needs”.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has since said the country is in the process of putting up a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Programme (2021-2026), in line with the WHO guidelines.
The World Suicide Prevention Day is an event organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention IASP and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) whose theme is to create hope through actions.
This involves collaboration of families, friends, healthcare professionals, government and the community to take necessary actions for suicide prevention in all regions.