The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) believes better suicide prevention and intervention measures need to be implemented in schools and communities in light of research detailing the high rate of suicides in South Africa compared to selected African countries.
It is reported that South Africa has a suicide rate of 10,7 per 100 000 people, which is higher than the comparable rate for Botswana (9,7), Egypt (2,6), Malawi (5,5) and Nigeria (9,9).
“While South Africa’s suicide mortality rate is lower than some countries in Africa – these include Angola (20,5), Cameroon (11,9) and Swaziland (14,7) – suicide is a problem the country needs to tackle more effectively,” said IRR analyst, Tawanda Makombo.
Makombo said thoughts of suicide were are usually prompted by a sense of hopelessness or a feeling that there were no solutions to life’s difficulties.
A few months ago, in one of many cases, a 19-year-old Wits University student committed suicide by jumping from the sixth floor of a building in Braamfontein‚ Johannesburg‚ on a Saturday night.
Makombo noted that, in South Africa’s case, factors such as unemployment and economic hardship, combined with the lack of suicide prevention and intervention services, could be reasons for the country’s high suicide rate.
“Proper suicide prevention and intervention measures must be set up in schools and communities if this problem is to be tackled,” he said.