By Lubalethu Ndlovu
Zimbabwe recorded more cases of suicide in the first quarter on 2019 than the previous year, an indication that the country needs to open up discourse on the subject.
Suicide, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the act of deliberately killing oneself due to various reason some ranging from mental disorder, depression, and neurological disorders, cancer and HIV infection.
This disturbing account was revealed at the recent commemorations for the World Suicide Prevention Day held at Magwegwe Youth Centre Tuesday.
Founder of the African Institute for Ending Bullying Depression and Suicide, Zenani Masuku, revealed that in the first quarter of this year, there were 129 cases of suicide, up from the first quarter of last year, were 94 cases were recorded.
“This shows that there is a high rise of suicides and that is a huge problem because this can be prevented. This is why we have to prioritise talking about suicide and why days such as the World Suicide Prevention Day provide an opportunity for us to raise awareness on the subject,” she said.
Masuku acknowledged that although there were more suicide cases, these could be prevented and encouraged people to open up.
“There are a lot of myths revolving around people who commit suicide. Some believe talking about suicide to people who are suicidal encourages them to act out on their plans but that is not true. One of the key ways of preventing suicide is talking to the victims so that they can be able to express their suffering and receive help,” she noted.
The anti-suicide activist, said her organisation makes sure that awareness on suicide prevention is done continuously.
Other stakeholders who attended the commemorations at Magwegwe included the National Aids Council (NAC), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Narcotics and Drugs, Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and Active Youth Zimbabwe (AYZ).
AYZ Director Romeo Matshazi, said a number of educational campaigns and seminars were held to educate people that suicide is not an option.
“This campaign is meant to show people that no matter the challenges they are facing, they are not alone and that death is not an option. As a society, we must learn to open up to others, even if we lose hope,” he urged.
Matshazi was inspired that over 100 people, particularly youths, thronged the event and most of them paid attention to the information board.
“150 people attended our stand to learn more about drugs and what role they play in people committing suicide,” he added.
“We have dedicated the whole week towards educating people on suicide prevention and we will be working with media organisations in Bulawayo to achieve this,” she said.
According to a 2017 study on world suicide, data was drawn from rates estimated by organisations such as WHO and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project, Zimbabwe is ranked as having the 4th highest rate of suicide in the world.
Out of 100 000 per annual deaths, Zimbabwe recorded 26.4 percent, as stated in the study.
The first country – Greenland at 51.1 percent, second was Lesotho at 31.7 percent and third – Lithuania at 28 percent.