Increasing number of suicides alarms authorities, families

Sunday December 04 2022
RIB suicides

The Rwanda investigations bureau has reported that up to 576 suicide cases were registered between 2020-2021. Picture: Cyril Ndegeya


Authorities and parents are alarmed by the high number of young people committing suicide, with children as young as 11 years also taking their lives due to mental health problem

Residents of Gikoni village, Jabana sector in Gasabo District woke up to a rude shock when an 11-year-old boy committed suicide by hanging.

Upon returning home, his older sisters found the bedroom locked from the inside, leading to suspicion that there was something wrong.

After knocking for a while and no one opened they broke the door only to find his body hanging from a rope.

The boy's parents told Harindintwari Jean Claude, the village chief of Gikoni that they hadn’t observed any problem with the boy, and that they are still asking themselves many questions.

Other suicide cases among young people between 18 and 35 years of age keep being reported across the country, as people increasingly lose their battles with mental health.


The Rwanda investigations bureau (RIB) has reported that up to 576 suicide cases were registered between 2020-2021 compared with 291 registered in 2019-2020. Reporting that up to 285 cases have already been registered this year.

Among other causes, RIB attributes these suicide cases to incurable illnesses which drive people to take their lives to relieve themselves and their families of both mental and financial burdens.

Others are driven on the edge by deteriorating mental health illnesses, which are exacerbated by factors such as losing jobs and toxic relationships, and loss of loved ones.

RIB showed that 2 percent of the victims were found to have killed themselves because of failed relationships, and 2 percent committed suicide because of extreme poverty.

It was also reported that 2 percent killed themselves because of debts and 2 percent committed suicide because of severe commercial losses, while men accounted for 82 percent of the cases countrywide.

Data released by Ndera Psychiatrist Hospital indicate that since the beginning of the year, it has received 7,817 patients battling depression compared with 1,743 recorded last year.

The data shows that middle-aged people between the ages of 20 to 39 years of age, the majority of who are men are the most affected.

The hospital indicates that 54 percent of recorded patients were male while 46 percent were female, while children under 19 represent 20 percent of the total number of patients.

Patients with cases of schizophrenia accounted for 35,581 cases this year, epilepsy 13,337, while acute and transient psychotic disorders were 10,977, while cases of bipolar disorders also spiked.

In total, the facility, which is the country’s biggest mental hospital, received 96,357 patients this year, a 29.6 percent increase compared to last year.

Joseph Kalisa, a leading psychiatrist attached to the University of Rwanda has observed that the unusually stressful events associated with the coronavirus pandemic are responsible for the spike in cases.