In a bid to reduce cases of suicide in the country, a humanitarian medical relief and development organization, Life Line Malawi, has announced plans to train suicide prevention champions who will be providing psycho-social support to people in communities.
This is according to Life Line Malawi Deputy Director Henderson Mhango who was speaking in Blantyre on Saturday, February 25 during a stakeholders’ orientation session about possible interventions on dealing with mental health issues, particularly suicide.
Mhango said Life Line Malawi which gets support from Life Line International, is concerned about the pace at which cases of suicide are skyrocketing in the country, a thing which he warned may negatively impact the country’s progress on various developmental activities.
He said Life Line Malawi will train suicide prevention champions who will be deployed to different communities to be providing psycho social support to mental health victims.
“We invited different stakeholders on the issue of mental health, especially on the issue of suicide prevention. We want to have some interventions to reduce the cases of suicide. We have understood some of the factors which prompt the increase of suicide cases.
“We are going to train champions who will be within communities, because we have discovered that we have less service providers on issues of mental health. This is a very big problem because people have no where to get psycho social support, thereby resorting to commit suicide,” said Mhango.
Mhango, however, said the initiative will start with three districts in the southern region which are; Blantyre, Zomba and Chiradzulu where he said cases of suicide are increasing on an alarming rate.
Speaking at the same event, Blantyre police spokesperson, Sub-Inspector Peter Mchiza, cited economic problems, marital disputes and poor parenting of children as some of the factors fueling an increase in cases of suicide in the country.
He has then warned citizens to refrain from accumulating excessive debts with exorbitant interests and further urged lovers to prepare themselves that any relationship can end so that it should not come as a surprise when that happens.
“Let us try as much as possible to control ourselves. When we are entering into sexual relationship we need to get prepared, we need to know that a relationship can end at anytime. We should not be taken by surprise when we realise that our partner is indulging in another sexual relationship,” said Sub Inspector Mchiza.
While welcoming Life Line Malawi’s idea to deploy suicide prevention champions, Blantyre District Social Welfare Officer, Stefano Joseph said it is a worrisome situation seeing children committing suicide and he attributed that to poor parenting.
Joseph further backed a point which rose during the meeting on the need for government to expedite decriminalising attempted suicide, saying suicide survivors does not need to be punishment but rather get medical and psychological support to take away the suicidal mind.
“There was an issue of decriminalisation of attempted suicide. This is another critical aspect that was highlighted during the meeting. Those that attempt to commit suicide are arrested and prosecuted, but again we must also look at it from the other point to say what are the factors that have contributed for this person to attempt to commit suicide and address those factors,” said Joseph.
Some of the stakeholders who were present at the orientation session included, representatives from the social welfare department at the ministry of gender, Malawi Police Service, religious leaders, youths and chiefs.
Follow us on Twitter: