There is need for more platforms to address suicide cases and attempts to support mental health especially among youth. This was recommended during an event titled ‘Talk to a Friend,’ that was organised by Mental Health Journal Rwanda, a youth-led organisation that promotes mental health through writing, research and community outreach, in partnership with AEGIS Trust. The event, which took place at Kigali Genocide Memorial, happened on October 20 and saw over 150 participants discuss the issue of suicide; its causes and prevention, but especially, how they can talk to friends in case they are growing suicidal thoughts, how to help individuals who are struggling as well as how and where to seek professional help. The event concluded a suicide awareness month campaign the organisation has been conducting since September. Rulinda Kwizera, Board Chair of Mental Health Journal Rwanda, said the aim of the event was to offer a space where different people could share comfort messages with those who are struggling in silence. Talking to a friend is one of the ways a person suffering from mental health issues and growing suicidal thoughts can get help and retain hope. According to helpguide.org, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express their feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt. “The recent study by RBC showed that a number of youth were not seeking help. In the campaign, we raised awareness around the issue given that some may be struggling, not knowing what it is. We used an online channel to share messages and managed to refer around 50 people who needed help,” he said. Speaking during the event, Maeva Bazilia, Founder of Hear2Share and suicide survivor, tackled the importance of talking to friends, declaring that their positive voices combat the negative ones in a person's mind, helping them to defeat suicidal thoughts. “Those positive voices from friends give you new positive perspectives about your life and grow to defeat the negative voices in your mind. Of course, talk to friends you trust; those who understand that mental health is important, she said. Dr Jean-Pierre Ndagijimana, who works with Solid Minds, urged participants to not only talk to friends but also seek help from professionals, declaring that they were trained to handle what friends sometimes can't. Some people who are suffering do not want to disclose information to friends. They may opt to talk to professionals because these people were trained to keep the secrets of their patients. In case they disclose it, there is a law that punishes them resulting in banning their licenses, he said. He added: Professionals also help people to figure out what they are suffering from and separate them from the issue to help them know themselves and go together with them through the therapeutic process until the time they heal. Benitha Joelle Habiyambere, Youth Officer at AEGIS Trust-which hosted the event, is aware that thousands of people commit suicide, others attempt to do so while others have suicidal thoughts from an untreated long depression. It is essential for people to raise awareness about suicide prevention especially for young people because we need the young generation to be healthy, resilient and have solid minds for them to contribute to the development of the country and their families. She also believes that talking to a friend is important given that if we care about each other's mental health, we should be able to talk to each other, share among each other and listen to each other. The spokesperson of Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Thierry Murangira, enlightened the participants on the current suicide rates in Rwanda and the magnitude of mental health problems, especially among young people. Males committed suicide at the rate of 81.5 per cent compared to females who are at the rate of 18.5 in the last three years (2019-2022.) Family-related conflict, domestic violence, and mental disorder ranked highest among suicide risk factors.