Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Understanding suicide among diaspora-born youths

15 Mar 2024 at 09:10hrs | Views
The prevalence of media reports highlighting the suicides of young Zimbabweans born in the Diaspora is a deeply concerning issue. The time has come for us as Zimbabweans to understand the underlying factors contributing to this distressing trend. By examining the unique challenges faced by Diaspora-born youth, we can gain a better understanding of the root causes of their vulnerability to suicide. It is crucial to address this issue proactively and implement effective strategies to support the mental health and well-being of these individuals.

Cultural Identity and Sense of Belonging
One of the key factors contributing to the high suicide rate among Diaspora-born youth is the struggle to establish a solid cultural identity and sense of belonging. Growing up in a foreign country often means being distanced from Zimbabwean traditions, values, and customs. These individuals may experience a profound sense of disconnection, feeling like they don't fully belong to either their country of birth or their ancestral homeland. The resulting identity crisis can lead to feelings of isolation, alienation, and an overwhelming sense of not fitting in, which can significantly impact their mental well-being and increase the risk of suicide.

Family Expectations and Pressure
Diaspora-born youth often face immense pressure to succeed academically, professionally, and socially. Parents and extended family members may have high expectations, hoping that their children will achieve great success as a result of the opportunities provided by their new environment. This pressure can create a significant burden, leading to feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, and intense stress. In some cases, the weight of these expectations becomes unbearable, contributing to feelings of hopelessness and despair that can lead to suicide.

Social Isolation and Loneliness
Moving to a foreign country can result in social isolation and profound loneliness for Diaspora-born youth. They often leave behind established support networks, friends, and familiar environments, making it challenging to build new connections in their adopted country. The struggle to integrate into a different social and cultural context can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of isolation and a lack of meaningful relationships. Without a strong support system, these individuals may face heightened vulnerability to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, which can ultimately escalate into suicidal thoughts and actions.

Cultural Stigma and Mental Health
The stigma surrounding mental health within Zimbabwean communities, both in the Diaspora and in Zimbabwe itself, can exacerbate the challenges faced by Diaspora-born youth. Cultural beliefs, misconceptions, and the fear of judgment can prevent individuals from seeking help or openly discussing their struggles. The pressure to maintain a positive image and the perception of success can further discourage them from seeking support. Consequently, those experiencing mental health challenges may suffer in silence, exacerbating their feelings of despair and increasing the risk of suicide.

The media reports of young Zimbabweans born in the Diaspora committing suicide demand urgent attention and a proactive response. To address this alarming trend, it is vital to foster a supportive environment that promotes cultural understanding, acceptance, and open discussions about mental health. Efforts should be directed towards creating accessible mental health services, raising awareness about the challenges faced by Diaspora-born youth, and providing platforms for them to connect with their cultural heritage. By addressing these underlying factors and offering support, we can strive to prevent further tragedies and ensure the well-being of Diaspora-born youth in Zimbabwe.

Information has the power to protect the Zimbabwean nationals who are in diaspora.

For feedback and any further information please call/WhatsApp +263772278161 or email

Source - Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.