September: World Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Every 10th of September marks the international suicide prevention day and September as a month of the awareness of suicide prevention. This year’s theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.

“Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.” National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) , wrote.

As it is a worldwide month of suicide prevention and awareness, Rwanda also had a hand in this battling against suicide. The charity begins at home, how was it celebrated in Rwanda? Here is how:

The event held in Main Auditorium , Huye campus, raised awareness among university students about mental health condition that has to be taken care of, as a way of fighting against suicidal thoughts that result in taking one’s life.

How was the event?

Everyone can help in battling against suicide’ Prof. Vincent Sezibera 

This year’s theme was talked about on the panel on September’s first Friday in Main Auditorium of University of Rwanda, Huye campus with the presence of experts in mental health on collaboration with CPSAR (Clinical Psychology Students’ Association in Rwanda).

The event hosted experts in mental health and advocates such as Miss Akaliza Amanda (First Runner- up of Miss Rwanda 2021), Professor Vincent Sezibera (A lecturer in University of Rwanda).

There was a panel discussion between the guests and interaction with the attendant audience through answering the related questions about the suicide thoughts and how to handle it intertwined with helping a friend with mental health issues.

The students that attended the event say that they gained new skills in dealing with mental health issues and are happy for that.

Egide Nkurunziza, a third year clinical psychology student, said “This was really helpful to our understanding of mental health issues and made me very aware of it as battling the suicide cases”

Amongst the guests of the day, Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, a director of mental health board in Rwandan Biomedical Centre (RBC) was one of them.

“Take care of yourself so that you get to help others with mental health issues” He advised.

He went on explaining that depression has friends: Failure, Loneliness, etc that all come with the suicidal thoughts of which people have to do their best fighting against.

Professor Vincent Sezibera recalled people to help each other whenever they find negative behavior changes to anyone as a result of mental health issues that could lead to committing suicide.

“Suicidal thoughts mostly emerge when one starts changing their behavior mostly starting to live lonely, whenever finding your friend isolating themselves, approach them and talk to them, it will help” Prof. Vincent Sezibera, suggested.

He added that some people try to help their fellows as their understanding about suicidal battling rises, however, a large number don’t value it familiarizing it with drama while it’s trauma and it has to change.

Worldwide facts

According to psychologists, suicide mortality rate per 100,000 population in Rwanda was at 5.9% in 2019 and Covid 19 pandemic led to some extent of suicidal deaths as severe depression increased in this period as well.

More than 700,000 people die of suicide each year, according to the World Health, while every 40 seconds, one person takes their own life.

Since 2003, the World Suicide Prevention Day has been celebrated as a way of battling suicidal mortality rate as taking care of mental health and making people aware of it as well.

The Nation Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) announces that 78% of all people who die by suicide are male, however, women are the ones to attempt suicide multiple times though men die by suicide four times than women.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 and tenth leading cause of death overall in the US.

Recently, Rwanda has noticed a lot of suicidal death rates mostly of people that jump from skyscrapers, there must be mental health issues of course. What can be done to stop this? You,I and your friends have to be more aware of mental health and provide any possible help to those with it, follow the experts’ tips that could save one’s life.