We were at the P.N.N. funeral home (Nakuru) to collect the remains of one of our high school comrades who had succumbed to a sudden heart attack. While we were waiting for other mourners at the parlour, there came another family for the same assignment. What else do people do at the morgue?
What caught my attention is that they seemed to be deeply wounded by their loss. Most of them could not stand the sight of their loved one’s corpse. They mourned hysterically with deep hue and cry. A few moments later came a frailly elderly lady who chanted her absolute grief emanating from her grandson’s rash decision of committing suicide. That is when I demystified the mystery enigma surrounding the wails.
Curiosity got the better of me. So I enquired from one of the mourners in a bid to get the gist of the whole saga. Exacerbated, he recounted how the second-year university student had opted for the knot as a way out of his myriad of challenges. He further added that his body had been discovered, dangling, in his hostel room.
Death by suicide is a bitter pill to swallow especially for the bereaved. The trauma surrounding it is depressing since even after several decades, many questions will still linger prompting poignant memories. Questions such as “what went wrong, what if I was there or could I have prevented it?”
It is indeed a great betrayal. Cases of suicide among Kenyan youth and the general populace have hit the headlines quite often. According to Business Daily (24th June 2018,), the number of suicides reported in Kenya increased by 58% between 2008 and 2012. To add on, it is odd for any news bulletin to miss out on homicides, attempted or actual suicide items. It is sad to declare that suicide has graduated from a taboo to a norm.
Kenyans are at a loss on the most effective ways that can curb this trend. Here are a few tips that can help:
Both educators and parents should be on the lookout for any suicidal tendencies or suicidal ideation among learners. It is high time Kenyan parents took some time off their busy schedules and start listening to their children.
They should also realize that the crucial role they play cannot be substituted with rigorous television programs. This way, they can easily tell when things are not alright and curb any fatalities in time.
Parents are encouraged to maintain a child- friendly environment. This can be achieved by keeping guns, poison and other dangerous chemicals out of the reach of children. Remember the saying ‘out of sight out of mind.’
Besides, parents and teachers should establish firm relationships based on trust with the youth. This will enable them to share their tribulations easily and this way their problem would have been half solved.
Finally, educators should enhance effective guidance and counselling in all learning institutions. Moreover, experts- professional counsellors should be hired to offer psycho-social support. This will go a long way in averting any suicide-related fatalities.