Life is sacred, let’s protect it
There is no reason whatsoever that justifies taking one’s own life. The sanctity of life is protected not only in the laws of Kenya but in every community’s belief system. However, statistics point to a very worrisome trend.
An 11-year-old boy in Kisumu County, tired of being discriminated at home, ‘gifted his mother’ by taking his own life early this week.
He is one of the 370 people who took their own lives because of a myriad reasons in the last six months.
Out of the 370 deaths, 93 were recorded in Central Kenya with 87 being men. Globally, almost one million lives are lost to suicide.
The 53 per cent rise in suicides in the country has been attributed to Covid-19 related causes.
That 1.9 million Kenyans suffered stress-related mental health problems should be worrisome.
Depression and the feeling of hopelessness and a lack of purpose in life has contributed to majority deaths.
The source of hopelessness could be as a result of job loss, losing a loved one, shame or stigma, financial troubles, or even ego.
A society that exhibits suicide cases is one whose moral fabric has disintegrated.
Individualism and unreasonable pressure to achieve have pushed many to the edge.
In the country, pre-teens and more old people, some in their 70s and 80s, are taking their own lives, a pointer to a looming crisis.
People with suicidal tendencies are largely impulsive, making them unpredictable. However, the signs are always there.
People on the verge of suicide will change their behaviour; they may become too loud or too quiet; they may want to tell others about their private lives; they may begin indulging in certain behaviours excessively.
These tell-tale signs are critical for one to get crucial help before it is too late.
Friends, relatives, religious organisations or professional mechanisms should be alert to these, if the trend is to be reversed.
We urge the government to rise to the occasion and help end the unfortunate trend. Indeed mental health has not been given the attention it requires.
All public hospitals need to establish a department that handles mental cases with trained personnel.
Public schools and institutions should also factor in guidance and counselling departments that can cater for needs of those who are close to the edge.
Let us be our brother’s keepers and provide mental health support to those who need it.