The Machakos County Health Department on Wednesday held discussions with various stakeholders to devise ways of reducing the increasing number of suicide cases in Kangundo sub-county.

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Machakos County acting Health CeC Ancent Kituku told journalists that in the past 12 months, 66 cases of suicide were reported in the sub-county.

He, however, argued that the criminalisation of attempted suicide doesn't help the victims, adding measures should be put in place to help them overcome such thoughts.

"Victims who have attempted suicide are not criminals but patients who may have a mental problem, probably depression. Charging such a person will not help him instead they should be helped," said Kituku.

"As the county government we are concerned because this is an alarming number and that is why we are taking a multi-sectoral approach because the reasons behind these cases are vast," he added.

The CeC disclosed that they have engaged community health volunteers who will be talking to the victims to help them cope with stress.

He further noted that the county will also hold public functions where the mental health nurses and volunteers will sensitise the public on how to cope with life stresses.

Kituku said that out of the 66 cases, the majority were men who used Organophosphate poisoning.

He revealed that the county has employed a psychiatrist and mental health experts in a bid to ensure Machakos residents get the best mental health care.

The meeting brought together administrators, mental health nurses and also suicide survivors.