Strengthen psychosocial support mechanisms

A THIRD YEAR student at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is under detention after he allegedly killed his mother, in an incident which local leaders and the Police have described as “rare and extremely shocking.”

A THIRD YEAR student at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is under detention after he allegedly killed his mother, in an incident which local leaders and the Police have described as “rare and extremely shocking.”

The 25-year-old student was pursuing economics at the Huye-based University. This is one of the many related cases that have been reported in the media over the last six months.  Last week, a man hacked his wife and a three-month-old baby before turning the machete on himself, but did not die. The media have been awash with such stories where people unleash violence on their loved ones–mostly close family members.

This is a trend that government should look into through reviewing the current social support systems in place.  For instance, all work- places should have a counselor. Universities and schools should have trained counselors as well. This should be mandatory.

This should be the same at the community level. Local leaders should try to avail counseling services and should have mechanisms of identifying people who need such support.

Government has invested a lot in building strong psychosocial support systems but this should be reviewed in light of the rampant cases of homicide coming up lately. The history of this country and the trauma that people went through following the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi cannot heal in 19 years. That is why psychosocial support to victims and perpetrators of the Genocide and violence that came with it, need continuous support and reviewing. 

There is need for more sensitisation of the population to look out for people who need such support before they end up committing crimes associated with mental breakdown.   Psychosocial support will help to prevent such incidents.

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