Not all with be festive

06 December 2019 | Columns

As the festive season approaches in full-force, many are yearning to spend time with their loved ones away from the stress work and the accompanying responsibilities that have weighed heavily during a difficult year.

Now imagine not having a job or perhaps going hungry as a small-scale farmer because of the drought and its associated impacts.

This is the reality facing thousands upon thousands of Namibians, who do not have even a meagre salary to look forward to as Christmas approaches. We all know the woeful state of our economy and the festive season will not be an easy time for many Namibian families.

Add to that the emotional rollercoasters we all go through because of break-ups, deaths and other stresses, and you have a potentially deadly cocktail of emotions that could lead to many going into deep depression and possibly contemplating suicide.

Today we reveal that available data shows that between 2011 and September this year, at least 3 625 Namibians killed themselves - an average of 517 suicides per year. Close to 400 people died by suicide between January and September 2019 and experts warn that Namibia's economic crisis, lack of jobs and the crippling drought are increasing the risk of suicidal behaviour.

This makes one look at the festive season - traditionally a time of togetherness and family fun - in a different light.

Our hearts go out to the breadwinners who are among the thousands that have lost their jobs over successive economic quarters. Obviously financial woes can put massive strain on even the strongest relationships and marriages.

It cannot be easy to see the expectation in your children's faces, while being unable to buy them Christmas gifts or even feed them properly during what many see as a time of plenty. Always remember, dear friend, that there is hope, and if the strain becomes too much, speak to a trusted religious leader, counsellor or friend. Your family needs you and 2020 will be a better year, we must all believe.