Tag: Among

Society’s ‘man up’ message fueling suicide among men

By Tony Mushoborozi

On July 2, Hussein Walugembe, a boda-boda cyclist from Masaka, walked into Masaka Central Police Station, doused himself in petrol and set himself ablaze. In a news report published by this paper, Walugembe’s motorcycle had reportedly been impounded for violating curfew guidelines. According to his friends,  since this was his only source of income, he decided to commit suicide after failing to reach an agreement with the officers in charge on when he would get his motorcycle back.

Two months before the incident, on May 12, another story was published by several media houses in the country. A 30-year-old man in Kabale District had committed suicide by hanging after he allegedly failed to raise Shs1,000 to buy salt for his family. 

Justina Nakimuli, a psychiatric specialist based in Manchester, United Kingdom, who also runs a private practice in Kampala, says men are more prone to suicidal behaviour because their lives are driven a lot by testosterone. “An average man never discusses his feelings of failure or pain,” she says.
According to a 2011 study, ‘Ugandan Men’s Perceptions of What Causes and What Prevents Suicide’, “…the rates of both suicide and nonfatal suicidal behaviour are higher for men than for women.” The study was conducted by Professor Eugene Kinyanda, the head of Mental Health Project at Medical research council and Uganda Virus Research Institute (MRC/UVRI) and was supported by three Norwegian professors.

“Ugandans are squeezed by poverty, unemployment, high rates of premature death, and insecurity regarding prospects for the future. According to the World Health Report (WHO, 2001), people in East Africa are some of the poorest in the world. Almost every Ugandan is affected by the situation of family instability and/or poverty and struggles for a decent living. This also affects Ugandan men as many of them have problems in finding adequate jobs and maintaining their traditional position as the breadwinners of the family,” the study reads.

The study goes on to note thus: “…young men perceive multiple and sometimes conflicting ideas about what it means to be a man and generally perceive that they are constantly judged and evaluated for their actions as men. These pressures, arising from a clash of ideologies, westernisation trends, socioeconomic change and the challenges to traditional masculinity, may lead to feelings of humiliation, both in a man’s sense of self, as well as in his sense of how he is perceived by others (Dolan, 2002) and might impact on Ugandan men’s suicidal behaviour and attitudes towards suicide.”

Participants in a  study who were all male, were asked if they had ever thought about suicide. 34 per cent expressed having had suicidal ideation, 22.5 per cent had made a suicide plan during the last year, 38 per cent had thought about suicide and 28 per cent had made a suicide plan earlier in life.


According to the study, 316 men responded to the question: “What do you think is the most important cause of suicide?” The causes were ultimately categorised

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Lt. Collins’ Law Among New MD Measures Taking Effect Oct. 1


ANNAPOLIS, MD — An update to Maryland’s hate crimes law, named for slain Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, is one of several anti-discrimination measures going into effect Oct. 1. Other notable bills address crime, the environment and healthcare, including an infectious disease mandate named for Olivia Paregol, a University of Maryland freshman who died during a 2018 campus outbreak.

Collins’ Law – HB917/SB606. Sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson, D-Charles, and Sen. Joanne C. Benson, D-Prince George’s, this hate crimes update was named in honor of the Bowie State University ROTC candidate who was murdered by Sean Urbanski at a University of Maryland, College Park bus stop in 2017.

“He was a young rising star, a young military officer about to be commissioned,” state Sen. William C. Smith Jr., D-Montgomery, said of Collins, who was Black.

While Urbanski, who is white, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019, the judge failed to find enough evidence to convict under the state’s hate crime law at the time.

“The standard, the fact he didn’t actually utter a certain phrase, was not enough to convict him of a hate crime as well,” Smith explained. “So, we changed the standard to allow the prior activity to be enough to prove intent. We were able to give that small peace of mind to the family.”

Sen. Clarence Lam, D-Howard and Baltimore counties, also wanted to highlight Collins’ law as an important piece of legislation enacted last session.

“Particularly in this time when the national environment is certainly very fraught,” Lam said. “There have been concerns about populations and individuals who feel they may be targeted due to their race, color, gender or orientation. To make sure the hate crimes statute covers them is particularly important. They’re all people, after all.”

Below are a few other bills enacted last session and going into effect Thursday. They are grouped by category.


Fair Housing – HB231/SB50. The HOME, or Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Act, whose sponsors include Smith and Delegate Brooke E. Lierman, D-Baltimore, expands Maryland’s fair housing policy by prohibiting landlords from discriminating against individuals based on their source of income, to include government subsidized housing vouchers, when renting or selling property.

“I think this law will unleash economic opportunity for thousands of families across Maryland,” said Smith. “A vast majority who have vouchers and are single mothers.”

Employment Opportunity – HB1444/SB531. Known as the CROWN Act, this law bans employment descrimination due to racial perceptions regarding hair texture or style by expanding the state’s legal definition of race. Bill sponsors included Sen. Smith and Delegate Stephanie M. Smith, D-Baltimore.

“The problem globally is a number of men and women who wear traditional hairstyles associated with the Black race have suffered discrimination in the workplace about ‘professional’ hairstyles,” Sen. Smith explained. “If they refused to change, they wouldn’t be hired or promoted. It’s something a number of Black men and women think about every single day

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