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Mental health awareness prioritised as experts tackle suicide challenge

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Mental health awareness prioritised as experts tackle suicide challenge

Story by Tarirai Madhuyu

MENTAL health experts are racing against time to plug soaring cases of suicide with statistics showing that at least 18 deaths per every 100 000 are a result of suicide.

Over the last 5 years, Zimbabwe has recorded a worrying upward trend of suicide cases which jumped from 12 deaths per 100 000 in 2019 to 18 deaths per 100 000 in 2020, which is 8 percent above the global average of 10.5 deaths per one hundred thousand.

Against these soaring figures, mental health experts lament gaps to raise awareness targeting men.

“We are contacting these workshops because we have seen that issues affecting men are not discussed. In most cases, men end up commiting suicide because they are not vocal than women. Therefore to avoid loss of life unnecessarily, we urge men to engage other people for counseling and sharing of ideas,” said a Family Therapist, Nyarayi Bakasa.

Founder of Paivepo Dzepfunde Foundation, Tanaka Maisvoreva said, “This discussion was beneficial in the sense that it highlighted to us some of the behavior or attitudes which needs to be aware of to avoid dangers. It is true that issues affecting men are being ignored yet we are both living the same life.”

According to experts, the vice is tearing through a sizeable number of men.

“We have realized that in most cases where men commit suicide, it is because they lack awareness in dealing with life-threatening situations. We, therefore, decided to come together as young entrepreneurs and come up with an initiative whereby we discuss these things openly, spreading awareness on men’s mental health to reduce suicidal cases in the country,” said The Founder of Second Chance Foundation and Mental health advocate, Careen Chikwanha.

Founder of Embassy of Angels Ministry, Pastor Ruvinga Rassel said, “A lot of people are adamant to what they believe, for example, people continue to practice early marriages yet they know that it is bad. Cultural barriers need to be broken because they affect young people in different ways.”

Early this year Mpilo Central Hospital statistics on suicide cases revealed a 245 % increase in suicide attempts, with 38 cases reported between January and February.