‘More Collective Efforts Key to Preventing Suicide’ says Mental Health Activist

By Staff Reporter
HARARE – Someone Always Listens To-you(S.A.L.T) Africa founder, Tafadzwa Mugazambi-Meki said there was need for concrete action to be taken from all elements of society to put an end to suicidal deaths, and to improve suicide prevention and care.
She said this in her message for the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month as well as the Suicide Prevention Day which was celebrated on the 10th of September 2021 running under the theme ‘Creating hope through action.’
Meki said policies, measures as well as actions on suicide prevention were still not enough to curb the vice highlighting the need for concerted effort either by campaigns or awareness raising to ensure that suicide is deterred from occuring in the community.
She said it was high time for people from different walks of life to come together to raise awareness, reduce stigma and share stories of resilience and hope explaining that working to prevent suicide and promote resilience through expanded suicide prevention and life promotion programs is vital.
“The way suicide is treated in our community means a lot still needs to be done. Its not a case of statistics that you read or a story that you read on social media. It is when you know that it is right in your backyard when you will realise the seriousness of suicide and the issues surrounding it. 
“So I would expect to see a lot more awareness and campaigns being carried out by corporates, schools including primary, secondary, tertiary and churches and even at policy level with the Government speaking more loudly about suicide prevention. Everyone has a role to play in saving lives,”she said. 
She said it was significant to start courageous suicide conversations with the people and let them know that someone cares and help is available. 
This, she said can positively contribute to suicide prevention.
“Probably work is being done but for the fact that as a mental health advocate I’m still not convinced that it is all we can do. There is still room for improvement and we are learning because mental health has never been a subject have discussions or to make discussions amongst us.
“What I would like to encourage is that we need to do more as communities in our respective areas and faculties there is still more to be done because it contributes to our Gross Domestic Product and future leadership within our country and beyond.”
The efforts of the community, she said can be strengthened when everyone contribute to improving mental health challenges faced by so many. 
“Suicide can be prevented, it should be prevented. We need to see more awareness and models being put in place to deter suicide from actually taking place. I have a strong feeling that we need to end talk shows and start implimenting and taking real action.”
According to studies, 77 percent of global suicides happen in low- and middle-income countries with ingestion of pesticides, hanging, and firearms being among the most typical means of suicide globally.
For people aged 15 to 29, researches indicated, suicide is the second most common cause of premature death, second only to car accidents. 
Women specifically, in this age group, are most likely to die prematurely from maternal conditions, and the second most common cause of death for them is suicide as well. 
For young males aged 15 to 19 suicide is the third most common way to die prematurely, after card accidents and interpersonal conflicts. 
World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world.
It was organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

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