Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Spate of Suicide Cases Recorded in the Country Recently are due to Mental ill-health-Masebo


Minister of Health Sylvia T. Masebo has attributed the spate of suicide cases recorded in the country recently to mental ill-health.

A number of suicide cases have been reported in Lusaka, Kitwe, Kalulushi, and Kabwe in the first quarter of 2022.

Ms. Masebo said mental ill-health is one of the greatest challenges facing Zambia today amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed on people’s daily lives have had and continues to have, a significant impact on the population’s mental health.

Ms. Masebo cited bereavement, isolation, loss of income, and fear as some things triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones.

“Individuals who have suffered from mental ill-health include health care providers, people who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19 and people who have survived COVID-19. Many who have recovered from COVID-19 are still experiencing some symptoms even after the recovery from the acute phase of COVID-19 disease. This is also referred to as “long COVID” which is overwhelming to bear,” she said.

“Due to the many social and economic changes that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed communities too, mental ill-health is one of the greatest challenges facing us today? The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed on our daily lives has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on our population’s mental health. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income, and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones,” she said.

Ms. Masebo said:” Many people in our communities are struggling with mental ill-health, which is affecting their life choices and outcomes. We have seen an increase in substance and alcohol abuse cases across the country. Sadly, we also observe a concerning number of suicide cases and self-harm cases reported in media, healthcare facilities, and police stations. Zambia has in the recent past witnessed an increasing number of suicide cases or suicide attempts reported in media mainly among young adults. The rate of suicide alarming articles and posts have overwhelmed social media. These have further exposed people to stressful situations and worry.”

She revealed that 89 people allegedly died by suicide in 2021.

“While the data on suicide cases in Zambia is limited, the World Population Review estimates the suicide rate to be at 7.3 per 100,000 people. According to statistics prepared and released by the Zambia Police Criminal Investigations Department, 89 people allegedly died by suicide in 2021 among these, the majority are males (72) compared to females (17). Indeed, you may have followed increasing reports of suicide cases lately in our country.”

“The high incidence of suicide cases may be attributed to impulsive decisions in moments of crisis, when the affected is not able to deal with life stressors. These stressors include financial problems, relationship break-ups, chronic pain or ill health, conflicts, disasters, violence, abuse, loss and a sense of isolation, stigma or discrimination and civil disputes amongst family members, friends or neighbours. Further, suicides may be caused by mental health illnesses. Individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses or have suffered a symptom of mental illness are at a higher risk of death by suicide due to the nature of brain health,” Ms. Masebo said.

She pledged that the Ministry of Health would continue to escalate awareness on suicide prevention.

“The Ministry of Health is therefore, taking these incidences of suicide and suicide attempts as a medical and psychiatric emergency of public health concern. I am therefore directing all health facilities through Provincial Health Directors to ensure that mental health, suicides and suicide attempts be given utmost urgency of attention. Government continues to strengthen mental health and psychosocial services at primary health care level using a multisector approach. Currently, all hospitals, particularly provincial hospitals have Mental Health Units equipped to support suicide cases. The Ministry of Health will continue to expand services on prevention and health promotion for mental health services as well as suicide prevention throughout the country,” she said.

Ms. Masebo urged members of the community to be involved in suicide prevention by strengthening peer support groups.

“Government will continue to engage various stakeholders such as Religious Leaders, Traditional Leaders, Teachers, Social Workers and particularly the media on prevention of suicide. The government has also incorporated mental health services and up-skilled health staff in COVID-19 response to include tailored mental health services in psychological first aid. The government will also look at options to create safe-homes for individuals facing mental health crises. These safe-homes will offer counseling and social support, particularly in emergency situations,” she said.



  2. F00Iish woman, she is trying to say mental illness only became existent after upnd got in power? The upnd cannot own up to their failures. We never had such deaths until you came in power. People are suffering under this useless govt and are killing themselves while hh is globetrotting

  3. It’s due to economic hardships we are currently experiencing. Pipo prefer dying instead of facing the economic hardships you have created

  4. Masebo you are lying. The suicide cases have nothing to do mental health. The people shooting themselves, or hanging themselves are normal people like you Madam. Its the biting economy at play here. Zambians are suffering…….and mentally tortured. They cannot afford basic commodities. The nkongole has gone up and there are no jobs . You and UPND cplleagues lied to the Zambians . Your bally is flying all over, Your ministes are driving the VXs and having three meals a day. The so called MPs are enjoying imported coffee and duty free whiskies at Parliamentally motel. Your children are in Schools in South Africa and Europe, or in top private school in Zambia( Simba, Trident, Mpelembe, Chengelo) whileour children are being crammed up in classrooms like pigs. And today yo say we…

  5. Suicides have always been there except that these days the flow of information is very fast. There are many factors as already which are driving people to commit suicide and these should not be blamed on politicians. We need to come together and find a lasting solution pointing fingers at each other. It important to share problems when faced with one or two with family members and friends. In most cases people with mental break downs are kept in shackles or left to roam the streets instead of being taken to mental health facilities for treatment.

  6. Masebo, their resources are being sold for a song to outsiders, no job creation, their bread winners are either fired or persecuted for having been appointed by PF, they are subjected to unfruitful IMF conditions, the stress caused by New dawn UPND is endless. Let them RIP.

  7. I think it’s misleading to attribute every suicide to mental illness. In a way, it’s a drive at exonerating yourself from blame. People kill themselves for many reasons – the majority of which, is despair. People are despairing; they are at the end of their tether! All this, so soon after a change of government, it would appear that a great deal of hope has been lost.

    #plant a tree please!

  8. When President Kaunda was at the helm, most people were poor – you had to queue for cooking oil etc., but we felt relatively hopeful. People were not killing themselves out of desperation. This is a new phenomenon.

    #plant a tree please.

  9. Within months of being in power you claim us to be mentally ill. What more will you call us over the coming years?

  10. Stop Lenders from selling Peoples properties for the time being. COVID caused alot of SMEs to close and people who owe lenders money are struggling to pay. Issue an SI to stop lenders selling properties for Zambians. It is not their fault that they failed to pay but it was becos of COVID which affected their businesses. Help them or you will continue losing more lives.

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