What drives an 11-year-old to suicide?


What drives an 11-year-old to suicide?

In Summary

  • Gregory Mwaura, a psychologist and therapist maintains that children are not small adults and parents need to build capacity to know how to handle children at developmental stages.
  • In 2016, 302 cases of suicide were reported to police in Kenya and in 2017 there were 421, a rise.
  • There are no specific data on children though a World Bank report released last year ranks Kenya as the 6th country with the highest number of depression cases among African countries.

An 11-year-old boy on Wednesday shocked residents of a village in Molo area, Nakuru after he took his own life.

His death brings to three the number of minors who have committed suicide in Ndimu village in Elburgon in the past year, in unexplained circumstances.

Lillian Wangui, mother of the deceased, narrated how she woke up early on Wednesday and left for prayers at her local church before a neighbour called her with the troubling news of her son’s death.

“I found my child had committed suicide, I am still confused since we were in good terms,” said Wangui.

While the residents are still trying to make sense of this, Citizen Digital sought to find out, just what is going on and how can parents stop their children from going over the edge?

Gregory Mwaura, a psychologist and therapist, maintains that children are not small adults and parents need to build capacity to know how to handle children at developmental stages.

According to Mwaura, at 11 years, a child is still grappling with their identity. They are in the process of trying to understand who they are and their self-worth, and if that awareness is lacking, a child may move to the extremes.

“We need not blame the parents. A lot of our actions are tied to what we think and what we feel. People may turn to religion but we also need to understand what happens,” said Mwaura.

Further, depression, stress and pressure to perform affects adolescents.

Coupled with external factors such as; peer pressure, an environment that is not supportive, media exposure, traumatizing events, substance abuse and lack of a support system might predispose children below the age of 18 years to extremes.

Now with children home for the long break, parents have an uphill task. Here are some of the telltale signs that a child could be driven to the edge?

“Seclusion. Strong statements, like life is worthless, and extreme activity like games. A parent needs to be on the lookout,” said Mwaura.

In 2016, 302 cases of suicide were reported to police in Kenya and in 2017 there were 421, a major and worrying rise.

There are no specific data on children though a World Bank report released last year ranks Kenya as the 6th country with the highest number of depression cases among African countries.

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