#Suicide in Kenya and Africa as a whole1:31:00 PM
My focus in mental health this year has been Suicide. I recently share my recent (and second) suicide attempt here. With World Suicide Prevention (Awareness) day in 5 short weeks, I will blog about tit bits of suicide, a subject I have been looking closely into since the beginning of the year, a project that has seen me go up to Nyeri in the name of research. Here are my findings so far;
1. World Health Organization has only suicide information for five African countries; none of which is in East Africa.
2. There is no data or statistics of suicide in Kenya as people find it taboo and/or stigmatizing to talk about or report suicide cases publicly. The existing statistics are gotten from media reports which don’t capture all cases and date back to Jan/Feb 2012 after KCPE and KCSE results.
3. In Kenya, suicide is a criminal activity and anyone who attempts suicide and fails is a criminal under the Penal Code.
4. Pastors and Priests shun away from officiating burial ceremonies of those who committed suicide.
5. Persons who commit suicide are buried at night with no ceremonies
6. There are two suicide helplines in Kenya; Samaritan Kenya 0707633692 and Outspan Nyeri (kindly add to this list if you know of any other). Both are manned by counselors and their main issue is awareness creation on their existence, human resource and general awareness creation about mental health and suicide; warning signs, how to help someone who is suicidal, the stigma for the bereaved
In related news, WHO is doing a world over documentation of suicide in readiness to World Suicide Prevention (Awareness) Day and they are looking for people who have attempted suicide and failed who would like to share their stories so as to influence policy and help in research so as to have better statistics and also monitor trigger patterns hence advice on intervention measures. If you or anyone you know would like to share their story, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org