Suicide rate in Kenya: Are we to blame? Yes!

Since January this year, more than 12 students have committed suicide. This figure could be higher, only that these are the reported cases that caught the media’s attention. These are young men and women taking their lives every now and then leaving the nation enthralled. Apart from students, there have been a couple more cases of people taking their lives in bizarre circumstances. Remember the young man who jumped from the 17th floor crushing to his death? Ever since that time, October 2018, there have been at least 80 suicidal deaths reported in Kenya. Out of this, more than 20 cases involved students. This is shocking and atrocious at the same time, right?

Why are young people killing themselves? This is the question asked by all stakeholders including institutions of higher learning, parents and the society at large. If we go back in time, 10 years ago it was a big deal to hear of suicidal deaths. It was something that happened once in a blue moon. Thus we are absolutely dumbfounded when suicidal deaths happen almost on a daily basis. So why is this happening? Is there anything the society is doing, or rather not doing now that used to be done back then? Here are my thoughts:

Pressurized Generation

I tend to agree with the fact that the generation we have right now is quite under pressure; the pressure to fit in and adapt to a very dynamic environment. This is a time where the environment keeps on shifting form every minute. Whatever worked yesterday isn’t working today. Back then we used to work with a story that’s no longer true now. The story of studying hard to get a good job, a great family and a ticket to financial freedom. It is no longer true because the rules of the game changed. Now, these kids are struggling to get a grip of their lives in an undefined ground where they are unfamiliar with the survival tactics.

Where is the motivation of studying hard while the rates of unemployment are plummeting to their peak?  I honestly feel that the system is to blame for this. These are different times, but the system is still the same! The pressure created is too much for these kids to handle. Instead of a system that trains them to think a job, can we come up with one that trains them to be a job, to become productive out of their passion, purpose in life and creating a career out of this? Pointing a finger at parents, let’s stop pushing kids to take up profitable courses. I would rather identify their passion and purpose, then push them in such a direction. This is what we need like yesterday. Do not force an artist to become a doctor. It won’t work!

Failed Parenting

Parents, are we so busy with careers that we have forsaken our sons and daughters? We have left them at the mercies and care of the house helps. It is good to establish a career, but be careful not to lose your kid while at it. Have some adequate time with your kids. Let them see you as a confidant, let them open up to you and trust you and be vulnerable with you; that way you will be in touch with everything that goes on in their lives. You will be surprised how at how much of their lives your kids share with the house help that you don’t know. I am surprised when some parents claim to have provided every material need, and that suicidal thoughts are unwarranted; not understanding that it takes more than that to raise a child. Walk with them; challenge them to be strong when tides rise. Who else should do that if not you? Remember an established family is better than an established career. Your kids are more important than your job. Realign your priorities.

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Not Scripted For Hardships

Sometimes it is good and essentially important to let kids feel the pinch. I refer to the pinch in a number of perspectives; financial, emotional, physical, et al. Let them know that life is not just a straight path to the destination. It is important to let them know that they cannot have it all as they desire. Introduce some hardships to them as they grow up. They need to know that stuff is earned through hard work. Understand that “NO” is equally a perfect response.  Teach them how to experience rejection. Let them understand that this is part and parcel of life. One thing for sure is that, at one point, they will face hardships. If not ready for this, they will give up the first instance. It is unbelievable that 18 of the 20 cases reported were out of love. Are these kids really prepared to face the scorching reality of life when they can’t handle mere rejection by a campus kid? Parents and guardians, please allow these kids to harden up. Don’t let it be “kababa” and “kamum” even when they are supposed to fight their own battles. Toughen them up a little bit. Not too much though, just a bit. Proverbs 29:15 says that The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.” It is never too early to punish your kid. It is the right way to ensure they get it right from the tender age.

Finally, children are a gift from God. They are tomorrow’s pillars. It is our duty to ensure that they get there upright and alive. Suicide is robbing us of tomorrow’s greatness. We cannot continue watching young people die every day. Let’s go back and take up the mantle. There is still hope. Let’s create a generation that will stand upright and be responsible. Would you want us to coach your youngsters into responsible and visionary young men and women? Talk to us through +254 780 00 66 10 or send us an email to info@johnkinyua.co.ke.

Let’s talk about it……