Why the youth commit self-harm

Google photo by Steve Mushero

At least 20 million people, globally, are affected by the chronic mental illness that cause distortion in hallucinations thinking, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

The UN agency says in a report that one person dies of suicide every 40 seconds in the world.

It indicates that 12% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa live with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug use disorders due to the different factors such as genocide consequences, orphanage, poverty and lovesick.

Human depression nowadays is increasing at a high rate, especially among young men and women aged between 15 and 34.

The study put depression cases in two major categories: Passive and negative suicide. Passive suicide is when someone does not care for themselves through sexual indulgence, overdrinking, drug use (Suicide indirectly but slowly). On the other hand ,active suicide happens when you decide to hung yourself, jump off a building , or drown in a lake or river (Directly killing yourself).

The Head of Centre for Health at University of Rwanda’s School of Clinical Psychology, Prof Vincent Sezibera, said that depression and anxiety are generally on the rise resulting in more suicide cases.

According to Prof Vincent Sezibera, these are the symptoms of depression resulting into suicide:

He, in May, told Kaminuza Star that most people have no idea about symptoms of depression even when some of them are probably experiencing them. He cited giving up on life , indulging oneself in excuses, having overwhelming negative thoughts, distancing yourself from others, sadness, among others.

He also cited a study which included 683 respondents and established that 18% of them had depression cases.

Asked about what University of Rwanda is doing about the case of depression , he said that they held a meeting with Vice Chancellor and recommended that lecturers should be sensitive to the challenge. The meeting , Sezibera said that lecturers were urged to show more sympathy toward students, even when the latter have wronged.

At the national level , Rwanda Mental Health Survey released in 2018 indicated that 223,500 Rwandans sought mental health consultation in public hospitals and that depression stood at 11.9 per cent. Up to 38.6 per cent of these were survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“During the national period of commemoration, which begins in April annually, a large number of people experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorders with panic attacks”. Said Bizoza Rutakayire, a psychiatrist and a senior consultant in psychiatry at Caraes Ndera, a Kigali-based mental health facility.

Research has indicated that post-traumatic stress disorder has also been traced among children of Genocide survivors as a result of the tragic experiences of their parents.

How you can help a friend

Recent technological advancements such as the emergence of social media platforms have also been  linked to rising cases of depression among young people, as it has significantly impacted on how people traditionally communicated or opened up to friends.

Social media has also partially been blamed for lack of enough sleep, which has been found to be a contributing factor to depression.

Experts advise that whenever you notice sudden change in your friend’s behavior, like withdrawing into themselves , you should always seek to know what they are going through and offer them your support as much as you can. Students are also encouraged to seek psychosocial services and to help fight the stigma surrounding such services by supporting those battling mental health conditions.