Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or social background, suicide is a grave and heartbreaking problem that affects individuals everywhere in the world. Studies indicate that, including in Zimbabwe, men commit suicide at higher rates than women. The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency reported that over the same period, 2,058 more men than women died by suicide, at 505 against 2,058. This large and concerning disparity draws attention to a far more serious problem in the society. We’ll look at the causes of why men in Zimbabwe commit suicide at a higher rate than women in this post. let’s get to understand Men’s Suicide Rates, Causes and Statistics in Zimbabwe.

The Social Stigma and Expectations of Masculinity

The social stigma and societal standards of masculinity are two major factors in why males are more likely than women to commit suicide. Men are frequently thought of as being powerful, independent, and emotionless. They are instructed to repress their feelings and to refuse assistance when they need it. Suicidal thoughts and actions may result from these sentiments of alienation, loneliness, and hopelessness. Additionally, males who do ask for assistance risk being mocked and shamed, which may deter them from obtaining the aid they require.

 Economic Challenges and Financial Instability

The higher than average suicide rates among men in Zimbabwe may also be attributed to economic hardship and financial instability. Long-lasting poverty, high inflation rates, and unstable currency are all hallmarks of Zimbabwe’s economic catastrophe. Men are more likely to be the family’s primary provider, and they may under tremendous pressure to do so. Finding secure employment and adequate financial security for males has become more challenging as a result of the economic crisis. Suicidal thoughts and actions may become more likely as a result of these sentiments of failure, inadequacy, and hopelessness.

 Lack of Mental Health Resources and Support

The absence of mental health resources and assistance is another factor in Zimbabwe’s increased suicide rates among men. In Zimbabwe, stigma against and disregard for mental health are particularly prevalent among men. Access to mental health care is severely restricted, especially in rural regions, and there is a serious scarcity of mental health experts. In addition, many people cannot afford mental health care because it is not always covered by health insurance. Untreated mental health disorders may result from this, which raises the risk of suicidal ideas and actions. Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Abuse of alcohol and other drugs may possibly be a factor in Zimbabwe’s higher than average rate of male suicide. Men are more prone to engage in dangerous activities, such as alcohol and drug use, which can worsen mental health conditions and lead to addiction. Alcohol and drug misuse can also lead to impulsivity and judgment problems, which increases the likelihood that someone will act on suicidal ideas.

Lack of Social Support and Connection

Finally, the greater suicide rates among men in Zimbabwe may possibly be influenced by a lack of social support and ties. Men are frequently raised to be independent and to not need the emotional support of others. Social connection and support are crucial for mental health and wellbeing, though. Men who don’t feel connected to others and have no social support may feel lonely and alienated, which raises their risk of thinking about and acting suicidal.

Factors Contributing to the Increase in Zimbabwean Suicide Rate

Social and economic concerns, political unrest, and mental health problems all play a role in the rising suicide rate in Zimbabwe. With high unemployment rates, inflation, and poverty, Zimbabwe has been battling economic difficulties for decades. These issues have been made worse by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has increased the risk of suicide by causing more financial troubles and social isolation.

The high suicide rate in Zimbabwe has also been significantly influenced by political instability. Beginning in 2000, the Fast-Track Land Reform Program caused widespread violence, evictions, and the loss of livelihoods. Prior to 2005, the suicide mortality rate for the elderly rose quickly, which may have been influenced by these occurrences.

Gender Differences in Suicide

The phenomenon of men being more likely to die by suicide than women is commonly referred to as the “gender paradox” in suicide. Despite women having higher rates of non-fatal suicidal behavior, including suicide thoughts and attempts, men have a much higher rate of suicide deaths. In the UK, for example, suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45, with a marked gender split remaining.

One reason why men commit suicide more than women is due to differences in the methods of suicide chosen by each gender. Men are more likely to use lethal means, such as firearms or hanging, whereas women are more likely to use non-lethal means, such as overdose or self-poisoning. The use of lethal means that men are more likely to complete suicide, whereas women are more likely to survive a suicide attempt.

Another reason why men commit suicide more than women is due to differences in coping strategies for emotional distress. Men are often socialized to hide their emotions and avoid seeking help when experiencing mental health issues. This can lead to untreated mental health problems, which in turn increases the risk of suicide. In contrast, women are more likely to seek help when experiencing mental health issues and are more likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders.

Research on Suicide Risk Factors in Zimbabwe

Despite the high suicide rate in Zimbabwe, there is limited research on suicide risk factors in the country. Most of the available research focuses on the elderly, with little attention given to other age groups. The few studies that have been conducted suggest that mental health issues, particularly depression, are a major risk factor for suicide in Zimbabwe.

Possible Strategies to Address and Prevent Suicide in Zimbabwe

Preventing suicide requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the underlying risk factors and provides support to those who are at risk. Here are some strategies that Zimbabwe can adopt to address and prevent suicide:

  1. Improve access to mental health services: Zimbabwe needs to invest in mental health services to ensure that people who are at risk of suicide can access treatment and support. This includes training healthcare professionals to identify and treat mental health issues, providing affordable and accessible mental health services, and promoting mental health awareness.
  2. Address the socio-economic factors: Addressing the socio-economic factors that contribute to suicide is crucial. Zimbabwe needs to implement policies that address poverty, unemployment, and inequality. This includes providing job opportunities, supporting small businesses, and investing in education and training.
  3. Raise awareness about suicide: Raising awareness about suicide can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and encourage people to seek help. Zimbabwe can use various platforms, including social media, to educate the public about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and available resources.
  4. Support vulnerable groups: easy access to mental health services will help. The government should start employing therapists for easy access all over the country.

In conclusion, the reasons why men in Zimbabwe are more prone to suicide than women are complex and multifaceted. The social stigma and expectations of masculinity, economic challenges and financial instability, lack of mental health resources and support, alcohol and substance abuse, and lack of social support and connection are all contributing factors. Addressing these issues will require a collective effort from individuals, families, communities, and policymakers. We need to create a culture of openness and acceptance around mental health, provide access to mental health resources and support

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