Men in Nyeri are more likely to commit suicide as compared to women.
This is according to a recent report by the county government's Health department.
Young men aged between 19 and 39 are at a higher risk of taking their own lives in three out of the five sub-counties in Nyeri.
Poverty and substance abuse have been cited as the leading causes of deaths among the youth.
MOST ABUSED DRUGS
Alcohol, bhang and miraa are the most used and abused drugs among the youth in the county, accounting for 161 deaths according to data from the Nyeri police department.
Mathira Constituency is leading with 34 cases followed by Mukurwe-ini with 31 suicide cases and 20 from Kieni.
“In these areas we found that the population made of young people were abusing drugs and investigations towards the suicide triggers showed they were living in extreme poor conditions,” noted the county’s head of medical services Nelson Muriu.
But it was noted that there was underreporting or misreporting of suicide cases in the county.
“Most people who report these cases claim the cause of death is natural, mostly for fear of being reprimanded by the society,” he added.
Last year, the then Nyeri Police Commander Ali Nuno said suicide cases had hit alarming rates with four cases being reported daily, meaning the county on average lost 120 people monthly.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 800,000 people die globally from suicide annually, making it a leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29.
In Kenya, WHO estimates that 1,408 people commit suicide yearly, which means four people take their lives daily.
However, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that the country only records 421 deaths annually as per last year.
The Nyeri County Health department has noted that there is lack of awareness in addressing mental health problems and has set up strategies to reduce the numbers of people committing or attempting suicide.
Mental health is among the top 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Nyeri, besides non-communicable diseases.
“We are progressively shifting focus from ill-health and hospitals to communities and empowering families to be in charge of their own health,” noted Dr Muriu.
Locals will be empowered to identify triggers of ill health including mental health and associated risk factors for primary prevention, timely diagnosis and treatment.