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'Govt must do more to help young people with mental health'

Mental health awareness among young people is being highlighted in the wake of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, in which more than 140 psychiatric patients died.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa delivers the keynote address at Mental Health Summit in Boksburg on 30 October 2018. Picture: @VuyoSabani/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says she is concerned about what she calls the unprecedented number of suicides among young people.

Ramokgopa was addressing this year's Mental Health Summit currently underway in Boksburg which has brought together health experts, academics and families affected by mental illness.

Mental health awareness among young people is being highlighted in the wake of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, in which more than 140 psychiatric patients died.

Ramokgopa says government needs to do more to respond adequately to the mental health needs of young people.

“We have had to deal with a lot of young people committing suicides unprecedentedly.”

She says deep-rooted social ills also contribute to mental illness and need to be addressed.

“You can actually sense that our society is sick, mental well-being must be at the centre of our sustainable development.”

Three students have committed suicide at the University of Witwatersrand this year alone.
_
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._

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)