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World Suicide Prevention Day: Suicide ‘completed’ every hour in SA

Reports indicate South Africa has a suicide rate of 14 per 100,000 people, which is higher than other African countries.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - With Monday marking World Suicide Prevention Day, a doctor at the Stellenbosch Psychology Department says on average, a suicide is completed every hour in South Africa.

Reports indicate South Africa has a suicide rate of 14 per 100,000 people, which is higher than other African countries.

Dr Jason Baijies says untreated mental health conditions contribute significantly to the high suicide rate.

He says stigma in society remains a stumbling block.

“That certainly hampers our ability to get statistics about suicide because sometimes when suicide happens, families don’t want to talk about it or acknowledge it in that way."

REACH OUT FOR HELP

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has called on anyone with suicidal thoughts to reach out for help in light of World Suicide Prevention Day.

In recent months, South Africa has seen a number of high-profile suicides including that of the University of Cape Town head of medicine Bongani Mayosi and Rhodes University student and rape activist Khensani Maseko.

The Sadag has emphasised the importance of seeking help if anyone feels the urge to end their lives.

On average, 23 South Africans successfully commit suicide daily while another 460 attempt to take their own lives.

Sadag's Cassey Chambers says reaching out for help will lead to solutions and support.

“If you feel like you’re the only one in the world experiencing those problems, we’re saying there is someone on the other side of the line who wants to help you.”

She says loved one of anyone suffering from depression should watch out for warning signs.

“Take every suicide threat mentioned very seriously, speak directly to them and ask them: I’m worried about you and I want to help you, do you have plans to hurt or kill yourself?”

If this article has raised issues for you or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

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