Dr Frank Njenga explains why more Kenyans are committing suicide

Kenya’s top psychiatrists Dr Frank Njenga blames suicide cases on “untreated" depression by people unable to cope with "sudden economic hardships” worsened by Covid-19 restrictions

Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti announced that Kiambu County tops the list with 483 deaths reported in just two months

By The Weekly Vision team

Suicide cases in Kenya have spiralled to alarming proportions, Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) boss Mr George Kinoti said recently.

Mr Kinoti said 483 Kenyans have so far committed suicide in just the last two months owing to job losses, failed careers, dwindling income and marital disputes worsened by the Covid pandemic.

Kinoti said more men than women had died saying mental health now poses a major challenge for all Kenyans. One of Kenya’s top psychiatrists Dr Frank Njenga who also chairs the National Task Force on Mental Health blames suicide cases on “untreated” depression by people unable to cope with “sudden economic hardships” worsened by Covid restrictions.

DCI boss Kinoti read out the shocking report showing how more Kenyans are taking their own lives due to Covid-19 related economic hardships that have seen many job losses, dwindling incomes and displaced families unable to afford house rent.

Kiambu tops the list in suicide cases and has the dubious distinction of being both the wealthiest and poorest county in Kenya. Kenya National Police Service annual crime reports also show that between 2020 and 2021, 1,442 persons attempted to commit suicide.

Between April and June 2021, Central Kenya had 181 suicide cases with Kiambu county alone accounting for 109 cases, Rift Valley 68, Nyanza 67, Nairobi 4th (63) Eastern 57 cases, Western 29, Coast (14) and North Eastern with 3 cases. Police reports cite economic hardships, from jobs and business losses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, as contributing to the depression, suicides and violence, particularly at home.

DCI boss Kinoti also cited failed marriages triggering a trail of suicides, judging from some of the suicide notes left behind by victims. World Health Organisation (WHO) rates suicide as a serious global public health issue that is among the top 20 leading causes of death worldwide. WHO says suicides account for more deaths than malaria, breast cancer and war.

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