Dr. Jean Damascène Iyamuremye, Director of the Psychiatric Unit in the Mental Health Division at RBC, emphasizes that this surge is reflected in the growing number of cases being treated in hospitals throughout the country.
He underscores the direct correlation between the COVID-19 crisis and the escalation of suicide attempts.
A probe conducted by RBC in 2018 had previously revealed that 11.9% of Rwandans were grappling with severe depression, while 35% of survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda were also affected by this condition. Additionally, young people aged 14 to 18 exhibit symptoms of mental disorders at a rate of 10%.
The 2021 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that approximately 703,000 people worldwide take their own lives each year, a figure of particular concern among individuals suffering from depression or substance abuse disorders.
WHO predicts that by 2030, depression-related disorders will become the leading cause of death globally.
In response to this crisis, Rwanda is intensifying its intervention efforts. An ad-hoc assistance center valued at Rwf2 billion has been constructed in Gasabo, and a mental health program in schools was initiated in 2020.
Dr. Iyamuremye holds an optimistic view regarding the impact of these initiatives in reducing cases of depression and suicide attempts.