Mental health is a growing burden particularly among young people globally. The burden of mental health has been felt with an estimated 8 million deaths worldwide being as a result of mental health disorders. Similarly, 77% of global suicides occur in low to middle-income countries. While most suicide cases are attributed to mental health disorders, it should be noted that not all are directly related to poor mental health and/or mental illness.
According to WHO, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29year olds globally in 2019. These deaths often lead to devastating effects on families and the community in general. In Kenya, The Mental Health Policy and Suicide Prevention Strategy are among the policies that have been laid out to help combat suicide and effectively deal with issues related to mental health. However, the multisectoral approach as a key driver to suicide prevention is far from reality as most of these policies are fragmented in nature and do not reinforce each other. Similarly, implementation, monitoring and evaluation is still a big challenge, therefore a big contributor to scarcity of data.
In response to the plight of suicide prevention, The International Association of Suicide Prevention set out the World Suicide Prevention Day that is marked annually every 10th September. This day seeks to raise awareness on suicide prevention measures, end stigmatisation and highlight the roles that we can play as a community and as individuals in preventing suicide hence the theme, Creating Hope Through Action.
In line with the work Ryculture undertakes in mental health advocacy through our Mental Health Youth Champions Network, we held a webinar to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day focusing on the sub-theme, Encouraging meaningful youth engagement in suicide prevention. The convening saw the engagement of mental health advocates, psychologists and other youth led organizations who deliberated on best practices and shared insights that speak to suicide prevention. We believe that suicide is preventable among the youth when appropriate action is taken, youth are meaningfully engaged in its prevention and effective strategies and polices are put in place.
 Walker ER, McGee RE, Druss BG. Mortality in mental disorders and global disease burden implications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Apr;72(4):334-41.