Suicide is real & it’s now a pandemic: anyone can be a victim
By Dr. Munyaradzi Chidarikire
Today, the 10th of September 2022, it’s Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide respects not the colour of the skin, education, position in society, financial status among others.
Today, its a day to advance awareness program in relation to suicide, it’s causes, effects and ways to mitigate it. Suicide is now pandemic especial in low and middle income countries such as Zimbabwe. Both males and females have committed suicide. On a world scale, World Health Organisation (2021) estimated that close to 800 000 people died due to suicide. In addition, Global Burden of Disease found that 1.3% of deaths globally are due to suicide in 2019. To show the danger of suicide , WHO (2021) found that suicide is the fourth cause of death among youth. In Zimbabwe, Phiri (2022) observed that suicide cases have increased among youth aged 15-29. To support the increase of suicide cases in Zimbabwe, www.macrotrends.net found that in 2019, Zimbabwe had 14.10% of people who died due to suicide. That is 14 people died per 100 000 in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, males who are perceived to be strong culturally have committed suicide with their number being 20% and 8.8% females commit suicide in 2019 as per www.macrotrends.net findings. In Zimbabwe tertiary institutions such as Universities and colleges, students are commiting suicide. Gora (2022) in his study, found that, in 2021 , Harare Polytechnical Student, two Great Zimbabwe University students and two NUST students committed suicide due to many reasons including failed love affairs. In Bindura recently, two former young lovers died after the male killed his girlfriend and later he killed himself. In Mashonaland West one rich business man killed himself after he shot his brother over money issues. Few years ago, male pastor from one popular Pentacostal church killed himself in the church. Recently, another man committed suicide after he was fired from work. One former police officer drank poison after his wife caught him cheating. One lecturer killed himself after the examination was leaked. Few days ago, a prison guard shot himself after the prisoner escaped under his guard.
There are plenty of suicide cases that have been recorded in Zimbabwe.
People kill themselves by
People use guns, poison, ropes, knives, pills and some burn themselves in order to kill themselves. Some can even throw themselves in front of the moving cars.
Causes of suicide
Some of the causes of suicide in Zimbabwe and beyond are : marriage and relationship problems, financial problems, heath problems such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, depression, academic failures, failure to forgive yourself, drug abuse, mental challenges, hopelessness, lack of moral and emotional support.
People decide to kill themselves because the society is unforgiving and judges the offender or a person with problems harshly. Consequently, the person decides to kill / himself as a way to exit from his / her troubles.
The high statistics of men and boys killing themselves have been attributed to the society that says “man don’t cry and don’t share problems”. Majority of men are dying inside and cases of men collapsing or have sudden death have increased in Zimbabwe. I encourage men to seek professional counselling and ventilate their issues.
How to deal with suicide
- Understand that mistakes and problems are part of human life. History has many people who committed terrible sins and acts but they never committed suicide. Some people were laughed at and made newspaper headlines after made mistakes but they faced their challenges head on. Be strong in the face of storms.
- Seek professional counselling early. Professional counsellors abide to ethics such as confidentiality and are trained to assist clients deal with problems.
- Seek counselling from trusted friends, workmates, relatives , church members among others.
- Move out of abusive relationships and toxic work places. It’s better to resign from workplace that affect your mental well being. Sometimes running away from where the problem is better. I know people who went to Britain, America after facing life threatening situations. A case in point in Zimbabwe, before and after November 2017 when political leadership change. Some political leaders sensed dangers and ran away from Zimbabwe. Gwara harina mboje.
- Some of the problems need spiritual intervention through prayer and other spiritual engagements. Therefore, some resort to prayers and fasting
- Awareness programs on the causes, dangers and ways to solve problems associated with suicide must be escalated.
- Seek treatment if you are sick.
- Give yourself second chance. Never give up.
- Family, workmates and society must give support to others. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on and support system. Never give up on your relative, workmate or classmate with a problem.
- Stop judging those in problems. Harshly judging them may drive them to commit suicide. Be considerate.