Kenyans Rescue Suicidal Man Whose Message Went Viral

  • Graphic depicting a man about to commit suicide
    Graphic depicting a man about to commit suicide
  • Kenyans rallied to come to the aid of Michael Kihumba, a graphics designer after his suicidal message went viral on Sunday, July 12.

    Kihumba had revealed that he was wallowing in debt and was ready to die, only asking that his children be taken care of.

    "I have borrowed so much that I am tired. I am sorry about that. Help my children if you can. I'm sorry Dama, Ray, Max in UG and Mwas of Ridge House

    "I am in Ngara. I am ready to go to jail or die tonight. Nimmoe call me," he wrote on Facebook.

    File image of graphic designer Mike Kihumba
    File image of graphic designer Mike Kihumba

    The worrying posts elicited a flood of responses from concerned Kenyans, some of whom organized themselves and went looking for him in Ngara to offer support.

    The group that went searching for Kihumba in Ngara, Nairobi on Sunday, July 12, failed to find him as his phone was switched off.

    With Kihumba's phone numbers shared online, several others tried to contact him and sent him encouraging messages before a Twitter user by the name Essie managed to get in touch.

    By this time, concern about Kihumba had grown with several Kenyans making efforts to call him to convince him not to harm himself.

    Essie disclosed that she managed to calm Kirumba down and found out that he was also homeless. She went on to offer Kihumba her apartment to stay in until he got back on his feet.

    "I managed to reach Mike and calm him down. I am willing to let him have my apartment until he is stable enough to get his own place.

    "In the meantime, I need help getting him a job. Graphic design and branding. This guy is homeless. Help," Essie wrote.

    She was commended for her admirable action to come to Kihumba's rescue even as the situation fueled conversations on suicide and mental health in Kenya.

    According to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), an average of about 1,408 people commit suicide in Kenya every year.

    Factors linked to suicides include substance use disorders and moments of crises in life such as financial turmoil, relationship break-ups or chronic pain and illness.

    A clear link also exists between suicide and mental disorders, particularly depression. A WHO report released in 2017 identified Kenya as the African country with the sixth highest levels of depression, with an estimated 1.9 million people diagnosed at the time.

    Watch a documentary on suicide in Kenya below: