Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Mental illness major contributor to suicide cases

Kimberly Kusauka

Suicide is a major health problem, and the global suicide mortality rate amounts to 1.4 percent of all deaths worldwide whilst most cases are related to psychiatric diseases with depression, substance use, disorders and psychosis (a mental disorder characterized by a disconnection from reality) being the most common factors behind suicide.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), every year approximately 703 000 people take their own lives and there are many foiled suicide cases that are recorded annually.
Suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and has long-lasting effects on friends and relatives left behind.
Suicide is ranked as the fourth leading cause of deaths among 15-29 year-olds globally in 2019.
Ministry of Health and Child Care(MOHCC) Mental Health Director, Fabison Musoro said the ministry is working tirelessly to promote mental health and prevention of mental illness through mental health cycle social support in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Mental illness is the end result when someone fails to maintain his mental health so we have mental health cycle social support which we are currently providing together with WHO where we are providing technical or copying mechanisms to individuals,” said Musoro.
He also said that they are collaborating with the media and other stakeholders to disseminate mental health awareness messages.
“We work with the media which helps us to disseminate our messages and partners like Young People Mental Health (YPMH) who operate in schools educating pupils on how to handle stress and anxiety,” added Musoro.
Clinical Psychologist, Lyn Chinenyanga said people suffer mental illness due to genetic composition, substance and drug abuse and stress disorder from frustrating life experiences.
“There are various reasons why people suffer mental illness, some individuals are predisposed because of their genetic composition that is it runs in the family, for some individuals it is induced through substance and drug abuse while others are overwhelmed by the challenges they face in life.
“There is a lot happening in our communities, the major being the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced people to accept the situation as the new normal. Some people fail to cope and end up committing suicide,” said Chinenyanga.
Second Chance Foundation Founder and Director Careen Chikwanha said suicide causes include financial crisis, relationship failure in most youths and depression being the major cause.
“People are suffering from financial crisis, relationship failure affecting more youths but the major cause is depression especially during this Covid-19 pandemic hence a lot of people are failing to handle problems and they opt for suicide,” said Chikwanha.
She went on to say that, they are working on helping people suffering from mental illness mainly through online platforms.
“This year we have managed to help 197 people suffering from mental illness who were on the verge of committing suicide,” said Chikwanha.
Tertiary institution students have been involved in most suicide cases necessitated by depression arising from heartbreaks.
Midlands State University (MSU) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Benson Judah said they have a club set up only to help students suffering from stress disorder or any mental illness and sub-wardens in each hostel so that they do not opt for suicide.
“We have a club called Wati Wati where students meet and discuss issues of all kinds giving each other psycho-socio support and advice so as to avoid contemplating suicide.
“We have carefully nominated a board of sub-wardens who are available at all times in every hostel so as to provide counseling to any student who would need assistance,” said Judah.
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) director of information, Anderson Chipatiso said the institution offers free counseling services at their multi campuses so that they help students with problems of any nature.
“GZU has robust counseling services offered on campus and students with problems of any nature and the counseling is offered for free. We have qualified Psychologists on campus, officials like the Dean of students and lecturers.
“We strongly encourage students to make use of counseling services before they think of taking their lives,” said Chipatiso.
A parent who spoke on condition of anonymity after losing a child through suicide blamed herself for not noticing that her child was having stress disorder as she could have easily helped to overcome.
“I blame myself for not being there for my child, I always think if I had done things differently. I cannot cope that my child is no longer around, I have always had big plans for my child,” said the parent.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that cannot be easily ignored due to its lasting, significant effects on youths, families, peers, and the community at large.
Last month a 22-year-old Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) student, Desire Mungoma committed suicide after his girlfriend had ended their relationship and he could not bear it.
On September 19, 2021, another GZU student Vilify Mbakada was found dead, floating in Nyamafufu dam, Mvuma and sources claim that she was suffering from depression.
In another case, a 27-year-old Harare Polytechnic college student, Takudzwa Chifamba committed suicide after his girlfriend of four years eloped with another man.
However, being haunted by psychological trauma, the girlfriend could not handle the situation and committed suicide.

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