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‘Drastic rise’ in Malawi’s suicide rate linked to Covid economic downturn | Global development

‘Drastic rise’ in Malawi’s suicide rate linked to Covid economic downturn | Global development

One Tuesday morning in March, 48-year-old farmer Lokoliyo Bwanali set off for his maize plot. He never came back. Neighbours discovered his body later in the small field where he had poisoned himself.

“The wife of the deceased said her late husband was under pressure from creditors and was failing to settle his debts,” said Edward Kabango, from Malawi’s Dedza district police department. “The deceased left his home without explaining to his family members where he was heading until he was later found lying dead in a field, a kilometre from his home.”

Bwanali, said his brother, had approached him in distress over money, but it never occurred to the family that he might kill himself.

Malawi is seeing a sharp rise in suicide rates this year, with some attributing it to the economic stresses of the Covid pandemic. Malawi police service reports an increase of as much as 57% on the same period last year.

“We believe that the rise could be linked to coronavirus since there has been a slowdown in economic activities,” said clinical psychologist Dr Chiwoza Bandawe.

“Suicide is a very serious issue at the moment because we’ve seen from the statistics that the numbers are increasing since January, compared to the same period last year,” Bandawe said.

“It is a drastic rise so it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. The rise can be attributed to a combination of economic and social factors. I think as people become more stressed – be it from economic or social [factors] – they don’t know how to cope.”

Suicide mortality rate (per 100,000 population) in Malawi was reported at 3.7% in 2016 by the World Bank.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. About half of the population are below the poverty

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Does life insurance cover death by suicide? It depends

Does life insurance cover death by suicide? It depends

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The Center for Disease Control reports that suicide rates have increased by 35% since 1999 and that suicide is the No. 10 cause of death in America.

Some people might think that life insurance policies don’t cover death is by suicide. However, most life insurance policies have what’s called a suicide clause: If the policyholder dies by suicide within the first two years of the policy, then the insurance will not give beneficiaries the death benefit. If the death occurs after the two-year period, beneficiaries receive the death benefit.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the process is uncomplicated. If the policyholder failed to disclose mental illness on their insurance application, the death benefit might be withheld.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between you and the life insurance company, where you pay premiums (monthly or annually) for a payout that your living relatives will receive upon your death, known as the death benefit. Should you die, the insurance company pays the death benefit to your chosen beneficiary.

There are two types of life insurance: whole (permanent) life and term life. Either can require a medical exam as part of the approval process known as underwriting.

People with certain pre-existing health conditions may be ineligible for traditional life insurance. Therefore, they get no medical exam life insurance. Although there is no medical exam, there is usually a health questionnaire. Failure to disclose certain conditions could result in your beneficiaries not receiving the death benefit. 

Mental illness addressed in the suicide clause

Insurance providers will ask if you ever had

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