CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
CHAINAMA Hills Hospital says there is urgent need to carry out a study to ascertain the root cause of the increase in the number of people committing suicide in the country.
Hospital psychiatrist and acting head of clinical care Nita Besa said in an interview yesterday that Zambia is now ranked among 34 countries with high suicide rates in the world in 2014.
“Though the study might require a lot of funding, it is a matter of urgency that it is conducted because we cannot continue to depend on data from other countries. We need to have evidence of the causes so that people can be helped,” she said.
Dr Besa, however, said from the evidence that has been gathered around, about up to 90 percent of people who commit suicide are found to have been grappling with a mental health problem.
“The truth is the natural instinct of a human being is life preservation, so for someone to reach a point where they go against that instinct, it means that there is a problem with their mind,” she said.
Dr Besa said about 80 percent of people who commit suicide are found to have been suffering from a depression which could be caused by various reasons such as financial difficulty, break down in relationships like marriage and family disfunctioning for children.
She said the way the media portrays certain reports on suicide mostly involving a famous person may influence others to emulate, especially among those already undergoing social or psychological problems.
Dr Besa said people need to be counselled on how to resolve conflict and also the best way to discipline children.
She urged individuals who might be feeling like committing suicide to open up to people they trust or seek professional help before succumbing to such evil plans.
Dr Besa appealed to society not to condemn people who attempt or commit suicide but instead offer counsel to those that can still be given hope of holding on to their lives.