Suicide more common in SA than thought

There are 23 completed suicides a day in South Africa and another 230 attempted suicides.

People who commit suicide mostly suffer from severe depression. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - Cassey Chambers of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) says that there are lot more suicides in South Africa that don't make the news, noting that there are 23 completed suicides a day in the country and another 230 attempted suicides.

The country has seen a number of public suicides recently.

The most recent is that of a woman in Gauteng who jumped off the top floor of a hotel near Hyde Park Corner Mall.

Last year a man in Hillbrow was egged on to jump off a building by a crowd of bystanders.

In 2014 a Pretoria University student jumped to his death from the university's humanities building on the campus.

Another man jumped to his death in the capital city's Menlyn Park mall.

According to Chambers, there's no definitive research that gives insight into the thoughts behind people committing public suicides.

She says those who commit suicide are not thinking rationally and at times may not take into consideration that they're committing the act in public.

Chambers adds that the reasoning may be that their bodies could be found and recovered more quickly.

She says that the greatest contributing factor to suicides is undiagnosed and untreated depression.

Chambers says that the media should be sensitive when handling suicide stories, especially when divulging the details of suicide cases as the victim's families are effected by the stories that they choose to run.

"When you lose a loved one to suicide there are so many answered questions that you'll never be able to get and that makes it really difficult when it's out there in the public domain," she said.

Chambers says that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) South Africa has a higher suicide rate than the US and the UK.

She says although this is such a major problem in the country, there aren't enough resources dedicated to it.

Chambers says that there's so much stigma attached to mental health and for that reason people are too scared to come forward to get treatment.

According to Sadag, men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women in South Africa.