Morbid report as 32 minors commit suicide

By Tracy Tafirenyika

AT least 32 children under the age of 16 hanged themselves and 752 adults committed suicide between January 2019 and August 2020, the Namibian Police has revealed.

Nampol spokesperson Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi said that in most of these suicide cases reasons were unknown as most did not leave behind suicide notes to explain why they took such drastic action.

She added that in some cases causes behind the deaths could be financial issues, mental issues and domestic violence.

Dalene Gous, who is a clinical psychologist at Phoenix Psychology, gave reason as to why children might end up killing themselves.

“It is not only one thing that leads to suicide, it is an accumulation of various things and these usually lead to the feeling of being hopeless. Minor suicide is usually caused by lack of understanding. Kids do not know the difference of what they feel and what they understand these are two different things.”

Gous highlighted that minors that committee suicide usually feel like they cannot talk to anyone when they have queries on issues they do not understand so they tend to feel lonely and ended up killing themselves.

“The best advice l can give to the whole nation is that we need to be available for any child that feels hopeless and also be attuned with people’s emotions. Accommodate people so they are willing to share with you all of their problems and advise them as well to make them feel safe and wanted.”

Psychologist Mryna Mostova said: “Sometimes children cannot openly talk to the people in their family and this can also cause friction because they need support but if it is low they will end up feeling lonely then kill themselves. Sometimes no one will come to their rescue to advise them and counsel them on how they are feeling in order for them to control their emotions.”

According to Joab Mudzanapabwe who is a clinical psychologist at Windhoek North medical centre, children’s emotions are sometimes overlooked.

“We usually assume children do not have problems, which is not the case. Children usually have challenges of compliance or noncompliance of household rules or their academic performance at school and this can easily lead to anger.

“There is also the clinical diagnosis, they are usually clinically depressed and depression is quite common in children. Parents or guardians just don’t seem to detect the signs as depression, they tend to think it’s just tantrums or hormones when it’s teenagers,” he said.

He also highlighted that parents and guardians should monitor behavioural change such as eating and sleeping habits.

“In most cases we have a traditional support system which is the aunts and uncles but this system is starting to fade out. So children are sometimes forced to turn to their friends and parents who sometimes are not quite lenient on them. We can never ignore any suicide pranks or statements that point to hopelessness,” he explained.