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DR NG’ANG’A: Myths About Suicide

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Do you know that every 40 seconds, someone in the world commits suicide? According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and it is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 30 year-olds. It is, also, thought that for every successful suicide, there are 25 failed attempts.

Suicide in African communities is considered a taboo topic and most people are ill informed and ill equipped to handle it. It is for this reason that we need to debunk myths surrounding this issue.

Myth:Talking about suicide is a bad idea, it may give someone the idea to try it.

Fact:Suicidal people have no outlet for their thoughts and concerns. They often feel isolated and alone. They also feel that they will burden others with their issues and opt to keep to themselves. This can be catastrophic. If you are concerned that someone may be suicidal, open up the discussion about it — it could save a life. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it was to be able to talk about their dark thoughts. Talking about it often helps them realise that there are other options to suicide.

Myth:Children and teens cannot get depressed — there is nothing stressful in their lives!

Fact:Children as young as 10 can get depressed. Clinical depression is a mental illness not just a product of social circumstances or age. You can have every material thing you desire but still be depressed.

Myth: Suicide is impulsive

Fact:Suicide is rarely an impulsive action. Most people who commit suicide tend to have had suicidal thoughts long before. In fact, some people even organise their lives and make wills, divide property, resign from work, visit family to say goodbye as part of their plan to commit suicide.

Myth:Stress causes suicide

Fact: Sometimes, relatives of people who committed suicide blame themselves for the event. For example, if a woman leaves her husband and he goes and jumps off a bridge, she and everyone around her may blame her for his suicide. This is the wrong perception of causation of suicide. Suicide has triggers — things that push a suicidal person to kill himself or herself. These include losing a loved one, losing a job, going bankrupt. The person was thinking about killing himself and his wife leaving him was just the trigger. She is not to blame for his choices and actions.

Myth:Inability to cope with depression is a sign of weakness

Fact: Unfortunately, the word ‘depression’ is used loosely to mean ‘low mood’ — this gives us the impression that you can ‘snap out of it’ if you have sufficient willpower. This is, however, not true for clinical depression. This is an illness that has been found to result in changes in the brain chemical balance and must be viewed as such. You cannot ‘snap out’ of clinical depression and your ability to cope with it has nothing to do with moral strength or weakness.

Myth: Once someone is intent on committing suicide, you cannot stop him or her

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Fact:Suicide is preventable in most cases. Most suicidal people do not want to die. They just want the pain and internal turmoil they are dealing with to end. When they cannot find a means of dealing with it, this is when they resort to ending their lives.

Myth:Suicidal people just want attention and are selfish.

Fact:This is far from the truth. Suicide attempts and thoughts are a cry for help and should never be ignored. They come from deep despair and desperation and are not attention seeking behaviour. When a person contemplates leaving everyone that loves them including dependents like children, it is not being selfish; one has just reached the end of their tether. The decision to end one’s life is never taken lightly by the person with these thoughts; it is often contemplated over months, sometimes even years before it is actualised.

Myth:Suicidal thoughts are shameful that need to be kept a ‘family secret’

Fact:A suicidal person needs all the help they can get. Unless you are a professional counsellor/ psychiatrist, you do not have the necessary skill set to deal with a suicidal person. Dealing with it on your own can mentally and emotionally overwhelm you. Always seek professional help when you realise that a loved one is suicidal. Do not shame them or put them down but encourage them to open up. Be an integral part of their support system but do not go through the journey with them alone.

Myth: Committing suicide is hereditary

Fact: Mental health problems such as depression can be more common in a particular family than another. However, attempting suicide is not genetically inherited.

Myth:Only certain types of people become suicidal

Fact:Everyone has the potential for suicide — regardless of social economic status, success in life, age or gender. It is not unusual to hear someone comment, ‘Why did he commit suicide? He had everything one would want from life!’ Being suicidal has nothing to do with one’s social standing — it is much more complex than this.

Myth:Since he is much happier now, he will not attempt suicide again

Fact:Often, the opposite is true. In the three months following an attempt, a person is at most risk of completing suicide. It is not unusual for a person who has decided to commit suicide to be at complete peace with their decision and even appear happier than normal. Most suicides that occur during this ‘happy period’ come as a shock to loved ones because they thought that the crisis period was over.

The suicidal warning signs can be subtle and should never be ignored. They include:

Talking about suicide, death or self-harm Personality changes such as nervousness, outbursts of anger/irritability, impulsive or reckless behaviour and unexplained crying Feelings of worthlessness, self-hatred, guilt, shame or saying they feel like a burden Getting their affairs in order by drawing up a will or giving away prized possessions Withdrawing from friends and family Unexpectedly resigning from work, dropping out of school and neglecting social activities Making unexpected visits or calls to friends and family to say goodbye Major changes in sleep or eating patterns — too much or too little. No longer cares about appearance or health. Lack of interest in the future. Suicides are preventable. Take a minute, change a life.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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