8 January 2013

Rwanda: 300 Suicide Cases Recorded Last Year - Police Report

There were 290 cases of suicide reported in various parts of the country in 2012, according to Police reports.

A statement issued by Police recently states that two of the suicide cases were reported in Southern and Western provinces on December 31.

"In Ngororero district, Sovu sector, Musenyi cell, Cansilda Nyirabagina, 49, committed suicide by drinking poison (Tioda) and died immediately. The cause of the suicide was linked to family conflicts which resulted from adultery committed by her husband," the statement continues

Suicide is the act of self-killing. It is often committed because of many factors such as hopelessness, which may be caused by depression, alcoholism or drug abuse.

According to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre head of mental health division, Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the other causes of suicide are family and land conflicts, social and economical problems.

"It can also be caused by financial difficulties, poor interpersonal relationships like withdrawal from family and friends, loneliness, unemployment and poor mental health, feelings of hopelessness; feeling no sense of purpose; loss of interest in things one used to care about," she said during a training workshop on understanding causes of suicide and prevention measures last year.

Although Article 162 of the Penal Code shows that suicide is not punishable, anyone who tries to commit suicide is liable to five years imprisonment.

'Jail not a solution'

In an interview with The New Times, Dr. Joseph Iyakaremye, a social psychologist and a lecturer at Kigali Institute of Education, said a jail sentence may not make any impact on suicide survivors since the person has already taken extreme measures.

"The best way to handle a suicide survivor is to give that person special care and take them to a therapist. The person who attempts suicide is no longer thinking straight," Dr. Iyakaremye said.

Experts say warning signs that an individual is planning suicide include the person making a will, unusually getting their affairs in order, suddenly visiting friends or family members (one last time), and buying instruments of suicide such as hose, ropes, pills, among others.

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