BULAWAYO-BASED award winning comedian and suicide survivor Frank Chirisa has relaunched the second edition of his “Funny Stories That Heal” as a way of celebrating the World Suicide Prevention Day and educating the youths on mental health issues.
The Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated on every 10 September and this year it was running under the theme “creating hope through action.”
The event represents a global commitment to focus on suicide prevention which has been on the increase in the past years.
The first edition of the “Funny Stories That Heal” was launched last year on 30 September and sold out at Hope Centre in Bulawayo.
Chirisa said this year they were targeting high schools and tertiary institutions after several cases of suicide were recorded at the educational institutions.
“We are bringing the ‘Funny Stories that Heal’ to raise awareness on mental health issues through comedy. I will be targeting high schools and tertiary institutions starting from 15 to 30 September.
“I will start with the Zimbabwe School of Mines on the 15th and end at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) on the 30th. In between, I will visit about 10 high schools around Bulawayo,” said Chirisa.
Chirisa has partnered different organisations and he will be assisted by several comedians to ensure that they educate the youth.
“I am partnering with the Win Over Trauma and Addiction (Wota) organisation, Rotaract Club of NUST, Rotaract Club of Matopos and Interact Clubs.
“I will be assisted by my fellow comedians Brandon Masuku, Mbongeni Ignash and Dalu Da Comedian,” he said.
Chirisa said as a suicide survivor he hopes that his tours will help to bring to light different struggles being faced by the youth.
“I am one of the country’s suicide survivors and I hope to use my voice, experience and platform to heal people. This event is a way of stepping up in the community and becoming better role models.
“I intend to give hope to the youth, that they may find help whenever they face difficulties related to mental health issues.
“I hope to equip them with knowledge on where they can get help and l will also tackle issues to do with bullying and drugs,” said Chirisa.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of 2019, the suicide rate in Zimbabwe was 14, 10 per 100,000 population.