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Monday, July 15, 2024

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

Story by Memory Chamisa

AS the country joins the globe in marking World Suicide Prevention Day, education and awareness campaigns on measures to prevent rising suicides in communities are high on the agenda.

Suicide is a major public health concern that needs to be addressed to eradicate it from society.

As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in amplifying the voice against suicide, the focus is now on eradicating stigma raising awareness among youths, families and communities and giving a united message that suicides are preventable.

While some people may have become skilled at masking their suicidal thoughts, some of the broader reasons for someone considering suicide may be financial worries, bereavement, relationship or family issues, depression or physical illness.

“Yes we all go through a rough patch in life but that must not push one to commit suicide, rather you talk to someone about it and not inflict pain on the ones whom you would have left,” one of the attendants said.

Another added, “It’s disheartening when you hear so and so has committed suicide. You question yourself, was I not friendly or trustworthy enough for them to come and speak to me? It’s very important to open up when you feel it’s too much to bottle inside.

“Men because of the patriarchal norm we often don’t open up when we have issues that are eating us up, We try to stand strong and that has resulted in us busting and committing suicide, but we just need to tell us boys as they grow up that it’s okay to talk about your feelings and emotions rather than bottle things up all in the name of being a man,” another participant reiterated.

Another added, “The government needs to set up more therapy centres in and around communities, where anyone can walk in and talk about the issues that are stressing them without fear of being judged or called names.”

Mental health specialist Ms Caren Chikwanha highlighted that suicides are preventable, imploring communities to promote a culture where people do not hesitate to seek help.

“If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important to reach out to your trusted circle of friends and family members or seek out treatment and support as soon as possible. Always remember that you’re not a burden and that you deserve to have a place to discuss these feelings where you’ll be heard, understood, and helped. When someone you care about is feeling suicidal, it’s not easy to know what to say, how to act, and how to support them with getting the help they need. Let them know they’re in a safe and supportive place where they can speak freely about how they feel. Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions must introduce suicide prevention and mental health topics in their curriculum to create awareness,” she said.

World Suicide Prevention Day seeks to raise more awareness about the impact of suicide while openly discussing these issues to prevent the loss of lives and get people the help they need.

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