Up to 23 suicides a day in SA, says Sadag

Picture: Ulrike Mai/Pixabay

Picture: Ulrike Mai/Pixabay

Published Sep 9, 2020


Pretoria – With 1 person committing suicide every 40 seconds globally, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has urged local communities to be on the lookout for the warning signs of suicide and know where to get help.

With September 10 earmarked as World Suicide Prevention Day, the statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) paint a worrying picture. According to WHO, 800 000 people commit suicide every year.

The organisation highlighted that 79% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries, much like South Africa.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers in the 15-19 age group.

Cassey Chambers, Sadag’s operations director, says suicide is still a taboo topic in our society; no one wants or knows how to talk about it.

In South Africa, there are 23 recorded suicides a day, and for every suicide there are a further 20 attempted suicides.

“No one knows how to talk, and parents don’t want to talk to their children about it in case it ’plants ideas’.”

She said despite this attitude, suicide was a “very real” issue in the country – Sadag’s suicide helpline received 55 000 calls for help since January 2020.

“So many people are dealing with serious problems every day, from relationships, work stress, unemployment, trauma, grief or financial stress and many of them simply don’t have proper access to mental health treatment or care.”

“Other times people don’t know where to get the help they need, and to make matters worse, there is the stigma that prevents people from speaking up and getting help until it is too late.”

Chambers said the majority of the callers were women asking for assistance for themselves or their loved ones.

However, men were more likely to commit suicide than women globally, with South African men being five times more likely to do so than women.

The Suicide Helpline is available to offer free 24-hour telephone counselling, crisis intervention, information and referrals nationwide on 0800 567 567 or via SMS 31393.

Pretoria News

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