By Patience Lunda:
The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has revealed that 58 people committed suicide in October alone this year, a rise from 44 same month last year.
According to Deputy National Police Public Relations Officer, Harry Namwaza, out of the 58 cases 55 were men and three were women whilst last year, out of 44 people that committed suicide, 41 were men and three were women.
Namwaza said broken relationships, debts and drug and substance abuse are among the main reasons for the rise in the cases which have mostly affected the youth.
“We are concerned with the rise in cases of suicides in the country. We are urging people to seek help when they are having suicide thoughts,” he said.
Precious Makiyi, a psychologist, observed that demand for mental health services in the country is low.
Makiyi added that the government needs to come in and employ more psychosocial councillors as they are inadequate in the country’s public hospitals.
“It is high time people started demanding mental health services because what we have seen is that when they are faced with problems, they do not open up to get help which is a big challenge,” he said.
St John of God Chief Executive Officer, Charles Masulani said more men are committing suicide because they are not into health seeking behaviours.
On its part, Mental Health Users and Carers Association (Mehuca) executive director, Memory Bismarck, said their organisation is raising awareness on mental health and is calling upon government and other partners to work with it to scale up the awareness activities.
In August this year, police said 208 people had committed suicide from January to August this year as compared to 160 cases that were recorded during the same period last year.