Alarming 245% surge in suicide attempts among young adults in Zimbabwe


BULAWAYO – Mpilo Central Hospital has reported a staggering 245% rise in suicide attempts, predominantly among individuals under 30. The hospital recorded 38 attempts in the first two months of this year, a significant increase from the 11 cases during the same period in 2023.

Suicide in Zimbabwe
Image: healthline

The hospital's clinical director, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, expressed concern over the sharp increase. "In just two months into the year, we already have 38 cases, which is a cause for concern," he said. 

The most common method used by patients was a lethal cocktail of pesticides and alcohol.

The surge in suicide attempts is reflective of a broader trend in Zimbabwe. 

The country's suicide rate has been on an upward trajectory, with 18 deaths per 100,000 people in 2020, significantly higher than the global average of 10.5 deaths per 100,000 people. 

This rate also surpasses those of neighboring countries like South Africa and Mozambique.

The reasons behind the increase are multifaceted, with failed marriages, work-related stress, unemployment, family disintegration, and grief cited as major factors. 

Depression and bullying were also mentioned as key drivers for suicide attempts.

Professor Ngwenya highlighted the need for community intervention. 

"This is a wake-up call for us as a community," he said, urging the public to take care of their mental health and revive traditional social systems like extended families.

The hospital is working tirelessly to provide support, with psychiatric nurses counseling patients and some survivors referred to Ingutsheni Central Hospital for further psychiatric management. 

Local psychologist Jacqueline Nkomo echoed the need for routine counseling and encouraged families to spend time together and foster open communication.

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