Last week, we marked World Suicide Prevention Day. Available statistics show that someone in the world commits suicide in every 40 seconds, translating to 800,000 people annually.
There is one suicide for every 25 attempts. Here in Kenya, the rate of suicide cases has risen by 58 per cent in the last 10 years. I know these are very depressing statistics, but numbers don’t lie.
Why is this trend so? This could be due to the increased pressure we are faced with in our day-to-day life. Stress from work, trying to compare ourselves with others, pressure to perform not to mention love affairs and family conflicts.
This should be a matter of concern, especially because love affairs and family conflicts are the causes of some of these suicides. When we can’t handle rejection or betrayal, we think that our world has come to an end and the only thing to do is to end our life.
So, what can we do to arrest this situation? Many people, especially men shun going for counselling and think they can deal with the issues by themselves. No wonder three times more women compared to men attempt suicide, but three times more men compared to women actually end up committing suicide. We, therefore, need to start taking seriously our mental and psychological health just as we do our physical health.
Secondly, we need to go back to what we Africans are known for, a strong social fabric. Men in particular need other men who they can trust to share their struggles with instead of kujikaza kama mwanaume.Married couples should find other married couples with whom they can share their joys and sorrows with.
When we conduct our married couple retreats, I’m often delighted to see how couples breathe a sigh of release when they discover that the issues they are faced with either in their marriage or parenting is not unique to them.
The Holy book says two is better than one, the day we realise that, and quit trying to live our lives as lone rangers, that day we might just reverse this trend.