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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Activist Says #Suicide Should Be Viewed As Health Problem

Ms Florah Igoki

Ms Florah Igoki, a #mentalhealth and women rights activist. She called for the decriminalisation of #suicide in Kenya

In Summary

  • Section 226 of the Penal Code states that “any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour.”
  • Ms Igoki said she is looking for a Kenyan legislator who can spearhead the decriminalisation of #suicide in Kenya.
  • According to the recent economic survey, more #men than #women commit #suicide.

A #mentalhealth activist has called for the repealing of the section of the penal code that criminalises #suicide in Kenya.

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Award winning Flora Igoki, a Kenyan-Canadian, who fled the country in 2008 after being attacked by political goons, said #suicide should be recognised as a health condition.

Section 226 of the Penal Code states that “any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour.”

According to the section 36 of the Penal Code, a misdemeanour without a specific punishment is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with a fine, or both.


The annual Kenya National Bureau of Statistics economic survey lists #suicide as a homicide where 177 #suicide incidents were reported to the police in 2018 compared to 421 in 2017.

Similar calls were earlier made by Dr Lukoye Atwoli, who termed the law as “vile and obnoxious” and called for #mentalhealthprofessionals to be allowed to manage patients without undue interference by law enforcers.

Ms Igoki called for allocation of more resources towards #mentalhealthcare in the country to ensure cases of #depression that lead to #suicide are immediately treated.


“After I was attacked by goons for vying for a political seat in North Imenti in 2007, I lost my son to post-election violence leading to post-traumatic stress disorder. As an immigrant in Canada, I attempted #suicide twice but due to lack of #stigma on #mentalillness and proper treatment, I learned to overcome the condition,” Ms Igoki said.

She said she is looking for a Kenyan legislator who can spearhead the decriminalisation of #suicide in Kenya.


The motivational speaker and author called for concerted efforts to fight #mentalhealth #stigma that she blamed for rising cases of suicide.

“The high number of #suicides and murders affecting the young people should be a wake-up call for the society and the government. #Suicide is a disease and those who are rescued should be treated and not bundled into jail,” she said.

Ms Igoki said even with little resources, the government can promote the use of cognitive behavioural therapy that involves talking to manage problems and change the way one thinks and behaves.

According to the recent economic survey, more #men than #women commit #suicide.

The survey shows that 147 #men were reported to have committed #suicide in 2018 compared to 30 #women.

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