The chairperson of the Delivery Room Foundation, Elago Nantana has encouraged men to speak up and seek assistance when things get tougher in order to curb suicide among men in the country.
“No matter how tough life gets, we must never surrender,” Nantana said in an interview with Nampa at the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show (WIAS) on Thursday.
According to statistics released by Health and Social Services Minister Kalumbi Shangula during the commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day in September, Namibia lost 623 lives to suicide between August 2022 and June 2023, with 511 of these individuals being men.
September is suicide prevention month and this year’s theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.
Nantana said the Delivery Room Foundation, a spiritual and mental non-profit foundation for men and boys, has found that a major contributor to suicide amongst men is pride.
Nantana noted that men are ashamed of revealing the challenges they face, while women show signs before attempting to commit suicide, such as depression.
He said many Namibians do not understand the difference between mental health and having a mental illness, adding that mental health is misinterpreted as being ‘crazy,’ which often results in shame and prevents people from seeking the necessary medical attention they require.
Nantana said his office receives about 50 visits from people seeking mental health solutions weekly, and what they have found is that many of the men who come in struggle with problems that are exacerbated by their sense of pride.
“Men are afraid to be judged and to be laughed at because of not being able to provide for his family, hence making him feel useless and worthless,” he said.
Nantana said one of the methods the foundation has used in the past to create awareness in the past was walking from Oranjemund to Zambezi and from Otavi to Oshikango. They tried to educate specifically men on mental health and the precautions they should take when going through challenges.
Meanwhile, Shangula said that among the suicides, 3.2 per cent were youth with the suicide rate standing at 21 per 100 000 population. The highest number of suicides were experienced in the Omusati, Oshikoto and Hardap regions.
“These numbers confirm that suicide is a major public health concern in Namibia and must serve as a call to action to prevent further incidences of suicide,” the minister said.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency