Twelve men hang themselves in two days leaving trail of grief

The victims were all male and died through hanging, police said

In Summary
  • Twelve men killed themselves on Tuesday and Wednesday, all by hanging. An average of two people kill themselves every day. 
  • Suicides increasing and authorities blame mental distress from Covid effects, unemployment, bad economy, love gone sour.
An illustration of a hangman's rope
SUCIDE BY HANGING: An illustration of a hangman's rope
Image: FILE

Five suicides were reported on Wednesday, seven on Tuesday, totalling 12 in two days.

They are the latest in a horrific trend blamed on mental distress caused by Covid-19 effects, hard economic times and family problems.

All the victims were male and died by hanging. 

Police sources said since January 23, suicides had been recorded, not counting the 12, but said there had not been an official compilation yet.

The latest deaths happened in Gesonso and Ramasha in Kisii, Mathira in Nyeri, Ndanai, Sotik in Bomet and Kenol in Murang'a. 

Police are investigating.

On Tuesday, police said they were investigating seven suicides and called the trend alarming.

The first Tuesday case was reported off Saiyaki Way where a 39-year-old accountant was found dead in his house. He was hanged by a rope.

In Mowlem, the body of Moses Njoroge, 50, was found in his house long after he had taken his own life.

In Chebunyo, Bomet county, a Form 2 student died by hanging.

In Mariakani, a 27-year-old man also hanged himself as his wife showered outside.

In Kiirua in Meru, a 45-year-lod man hanged himself.

In Kabras, Kakamga,  a 24-year-old man  took his life by hanging.

Police said another man, aged 60, hanged himself from a tree branch in Ukwala area.

The motives of the incidents are yet to be established.

Suicides have been increasing in Kenya, as have calls to break the trend.

Authorities blame mental distress, which is obvious.

In 2020, 174 suicides were reported, compared with 196 in 2019, 302 in 2018, 421 in 2017 and 302 in 2016. Most of the victims were male.

Police say as many as two cases daily are reported countrywide.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said the issue needs serious attention.

"It is a problem that is getting attention but it needs more and more serious attention,” he said.

The victims include police officers.

The World Health Organisation says such cases are attributed to joblessness, the breakup of relationships or a death, academic failures or pressures, legal difficulties, financial difficulties, bullying, previous suicide attempts, history of suicide in a family, alcoholism and substance misuse, depression and bipolar disorder.

WHO calls suicide as a serious global public health issue, among the top 20 leading causes of death worldwide.

Globally, close to 800,000 people die of suicide every year. An estimated 78 per cent occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Kenya ranks position 114 among the 175 countries with the highest suicide rates.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has said the country is developing a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Programme (2021-2026), in line with the WHO guidelines.

A task force on mental health established Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability and premature mortality with huge gaps in access to care.

The team said most Kenyans associate mental illness with negative narratives leading to a low focus on the importance and benefits of mental health and well-being.

The team also recommended that mental illness be declared a national emergency of epidemic proportions, to prioritise mental health as a priority public health and socioeconomic agenda.

It urged better financing in line with international best practices.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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