Police say suicide trend has been worrying and increasing as up to two cases are reported daily.
WHO says such cases are attributed to joblessness, death, academic failures or pressures, legal difficulties and financial difficulties.
People who attempt suicide will not be charged with the offence.
Instead, they will be taken for mental tests and be counseled before the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution makes a decision on the way forward.
This is part of the way of decriminalising the offence pending the legislation of Section 226 of the Penal Code that addresses the issue.
In Kenya, attempted suicide as laid out by Section 226 of the Penal Code is a misdemeanour punishable by two years imprisonment or a fine or both, as per Section 36 of the Penal Code.
In Moyale, ODPP declined to charge a man who attempted to die by suicide in a letter dated October 26, 2023 and declared it was not proper to prosecute the accused.
“Despite the offence of attempted suicide still being a part of the law and still an offence in the Penal Code, it has now become proper practice not to charge or punish people that attempt suicide as the same is attributed to a person suffering a mental illness and it would be akin to punishing a sick person for being sick.”
“In this breath, I therefore make the decision not to charge the accused person herein but instead offer a form of intervention,” Chelule Adams for the ODPP said.
He directed that the accused person be escorted to the hospital for a mental assessment and also undergo counselling to enable him to move forward with his life.
“After the mental assessment and first round of counselling is done, kindly avail the file back to this office for further directions. Your original police file is herewith returned,” he told police.
This is part of efforts to decriminalize the issue. Three agencies have moved to court seeking to have the court declare a section of the Penal Code that outlaws attempted suicide as being unconstitutional.
The Attorney General’s office says the issue needs legislation to have it decriminalized.
The task force report on mental health and wellbeing (2020) noted that for every adult who has died by suicide, more than 20 have attempted suicide pointing to a grave reality within Kenya’s borders.
The task force report further noted that there needs to be an amendment or repeal of specified legal provisions that offend the constitution, and Acts of Parliament such as section 226 of the penal code.
Police say cases of suicide have been on the rise amid calls for action to address the same.
There were 174 cases of suicide reported in 2020 as compared to 196 in 2019, 302 in 2018, 421 in 2017 and 302 in 2016. The majority of the victims were male, police reports say.
Police say the trend has been worrying and increasing as up to two cases are reported daily.
The World Health Organisation says such cases are attributed to joblessness, death, academic failures or pressures, legal difficulties and financial difficulties.
Other reasons are bullying, previous suicide attempts, history of suicide in a family, alcoholism and substance misuse, depression and bipolar disorder.
WHO rates suicide as a serious global public health issue that is among the top 20 leading causes of death worldwide.
Kenya ranks position 114 among the 175 countries with the highest suicide rates.