Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

THE country has recorded a 31 percent decline in suicide cases in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Men still dominate in cases of suicide with 98 having ended their lives this year compared to 159 last year.

Thirty-one females committed suicide this year compared to 30 last year.

The country has the 13th highest suicide rate in the world amid reports that cases have been on the rise, making suicide the 14th leading cause of death in the country.

Last month, Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Matabeleland South province deputy director Mr Elfas Siziba (58) allegedly hanged himself in a bushy area near his house in Gwanda town following a misunderstanding with his first wife.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said 129 suicide cases were recorded this year compared to 189 last year.

“The police has noted that more men are committing suicide as a result of domestic or civil disputes. Some people are taking their lives due to chronic illnesses. The most common method is suicide by hanging followed by poisoning and in other circumstances by shooting or drowning,” Asst Comm Nyathi.

He urged members of the public to seek counselling services as opposed to resorting to suicide when facing difficult situation.

Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum programmes officer Mr Ziphongezipho Ndebele said men opt for suicide as they do not open up to anyone when faced with problems.

“Even when they want to open up, there is not so many people who are willing to listen to them. The patriarchal society says men cannot been seen crying or opening up on issues as they are expected to solve whatever is affecting them. When they fail to attend to these problems, they end up committing suicide. But as Padare/Enkundleni, we are offering pyscho social support to men with challenges. For example, during the first two weeks of the national lockdown in April, we dealt with unprecedented levels of cases where about 10 men with suicide tendencies approached us seeking support. I’m happy to say all of them are alive today after we gave them the support they needed,” said Mr Ndebele.

He said he could not comment on the reasons why there was a decrease in suicide cases, as his organisation did not conduct a survey to that effect.

Mr Ndebele said there is a need for men to accept that they are also vulnerable and may need counselling as opposed to giving up on life or resorting to violent means to address problems.

Zimbabwe Christian Alliance director, Reverend Useni Sibanda, said while the decrease in the suicide cases was welcome development, the figures are still worryingly high.

He attributed some of the suicide cases to the economic situation where individuals might be under pressure to perform.

“Issues that end up making people resort to suicide is feeling helpless especially when one is under pressure.

“Loss of hope can result in people losing everything even the reason to live. So, working with more than 300 church leaders we are providing pyscho social support to vulnerable persons so that they can cope with whatever is affecting them,” he said.

“There is need for more intensive awareness campaigns on mental health issues and on how to deal with stress to effectively deal with suicide in communities.”

In some cases, individuals commit suicide without leaving behind any notification of why they took those decisions.

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