Eighty cases of suicide were registered in Acholi sub-region between January and October this year, according to statistics released by Gulu Sheffield Mental Health Partnership in collaboration with Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. According to the breakdown of the statistics, 57 of the cases involved male victims while the rest were female.
Suicide by ingesting poison took the first spot with 51 cases followed by hanging with 26, drowning 2 and shooting came last with 1 case. Agago district registered the highest number with 20 cases followed by Omoro with 14, Gulu 13 and Pader 12 cases. Amuru, Kitgum, Lamwo and Nwoya districts registered 8, 7, 4 and 2 suicide cases respectively.
Freddy Odong, the project officer of the Suicide Prevention Project under Gulu Sheffield Mental Health Partnership told URN in an interview that although the registered suicide cases appear alarming, many more cases were not captured.
He says one of the biggest causes of the suicide cases in the region was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that left many anxious and economically burdened.
Odong says most of the suicides were a result of misunderstandings relating to land wrangles and domestic brawls.
He said it will be so hard to completely get rid of suicide because of stigmatization of survivors and victims and criminalization of attempted suicide cases.
Stella Kijange, a woman rights activist and a contestant for the Nwoya district Woman MP seat said the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army – LRA insurgency in Northern Uganda is the main reason for the increased suicide cases due to lack of adequate psychosocial support for the vulnerable residents.
She says the capacity of social workers should be built so that they go on the ground to offer psycho-social support alongside the livelihood support programs by the government and other partners.