Police records show that for the past five years suicide cases in Malawi have jumped from 128 in 2018 to 292 last year.
Police statistics given to VOA show that the current suicide rate is at 11.6 per 100,000 people, higher than the global average of 10.5 per 100,000.
Peter Kalaya, a spokesperson for the Malawi Police Service, said the records show that more youths are committing suicide than older persons.
However, Kalaya said other people have killed themselves because of economic problems.
Charles Masulani, a mental health expert, said another contributing factor might be unrealistic parental expectations or negative parenting.
A shortage of public mental health care is seen as a contributing factor to the problem.
Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has only one public mental hospital, Zomba Mental Hospital, and few privately-owed mental health facilities.
Harry Kawiya, a clinical officer with the Zomba Mental Hospital in the Zomba district, said suicide cases are likely under reported.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare in Malawi, Pauline Kaude, told VOA that rise in suicide cases is concerning.
Kaude said the government has developed several strategies to cope with the issue. One targets men who she says have faced gender-based violence but have been too shy to voice their problems. They encourage victims to seek support from service providers.
Kalaya says police, through their Victim Support Unit, work to educate people to seek psychosocial solutions whenever they face problems rather than resorting to killing themselves. (IB/VOA)