It is common in our midst nowadays to hear someone has in your neighborhood or far away has committed suicide, sometimes ruthlessly.
When you hear such a report you usually wonder why someone would take his/her own life. Often, there are multiple factors.
While many factors can influence a person’s decision to commit suicide, the most common one is severe depression.
Depression can make people feel great emotional pain and loss of hope, making them unable to see another way to relieve the pain other than ending their own life.
Other mental illnesses that can increase the risk of suicide include Bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD), eating disorders and schizophrenia.
A person, who had a traumatic experience, including childhood sexual abuse, rape or physical abuse, is at a greater risk for suicide, even many years after the trauma.
For some people even failing an important examination while his colleagues have made it can cause severe stress disorder and the individual can’t bear it.
Psychologists have repeatedly explained that human beings never tend to forget those lessons learned at the hands of failures and their consequent traumatic effects which are constantly felt ever afterward until the failures are overcome by hard efforts.
To take care of this sad situation every 10th of September is marked worldwide as the World Suicide Prevention Day.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) initiated the day in 2003 and is co-sponsored by the World Federation for Mental Health and World Health Organization (WHO).
The day aims to research and collect data on suicidal behaviour, determine the various causes and why its signs go unnoticed and developing sound practices and policies for suicide prevention.
According to the WHO, suicide is committed somewhere in the world every 40 seconds.
Approximately 800,000 people die every year due to suicide. The majority of these occur in underdeveloped and developing countries.
These figures are startling, considering that suicide is preventable. Undiagnosed and untreated mental illness is the biggest reason behind suicide.
Unfortunately, Zanzibar is yet to pay serious attention to initiatives that could help prevent rising cases of suicide in the country.
Psychologists have said there was very little attention paid towards mental health as evidenced by the fact that Zanzibar as a country has only one major mental health hospital at Kidongochekundu.
In normal circumstances, in every hospital at the district level, there was supposed to be a proper mental health facility or clinic.
We have reached a stage that requires having a national committee on suicide prevention, as is the case with the Covid-19.
According to psychologists as Zanzibar is commemorating this day, it needs some kind of soul searching to evaluate itself on what kind of interventions can be put in place and what else could be done to improve the situation.
Most of those interviewed by the Mail said the starting point could be having a proper investigation into all the cases that have been there to gather enough information that would guide in designing methods, approaches and initiatives that could help prevent more cases of suicide.
Mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, spectrum disorders and substance use are some of the risk factors.
Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress such as from financial or academic difficulties, relationship problems, such as break-ups or deaths of close ones or harassment.
Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide such as firearms, drugs and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; careful media reporting about suicide bullying.
Approximately 1.5% of all deaths worldwide are by suicide and common methods include hanging, pesticide poisoning and use of firearms.