Kenya pledges action on rising cases of suicide amid pandemic shocks


Kenya will explore innovative strategies to boost action on rising cases of suicide linked to COVID-19 disruptions, the Ministry of Health said on Friday at an event to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

Rashid Aman, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health revealed that Kenya lost four lives daily during the peak of COVID-19 in the year 2020, while globally, one in every 100 deaths was linked to suicide.

He said that in order to achieve a comprehensive public health action to prevent suicide, there is a need to educate the population at large and more so the vulnerable groups.

This, Aman said, can be done through activities geared towards environmental control of risk factors as well as early identification and effective treatment of people with mental and substance use disorders.

Kenyan young men are experiencing unemployment as well as heightened anxiety levels leading to increased use of alcohol, break ups in relationships and the upsurge of domestic violence.

Aman called for normalization of seeking mental health care to reduce the stigma around suicide and participation in well-informed action, which will ultimately reduce instances of suicide in the country.

He said that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, adding that 703,000 people die annually by suicide and more than half of them at 58 percent die before the age of 50 globally.

Kenya’s Ministry of Health last year launched the mental health action plan which is a roadmap of the various activities that need to be undertaken towards a mentally healthy population.

The ministry is also currently developing the Suicide Prevention Strategy 2021-2026, which is in its final stages and will be launched soon. Enditem

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