According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa has the sixth highest rate of suicide in Africa, indicating that at least 11.6 of every 100 000 people in the country commit suicide.
Wouter Lombard, Cipla’s associate director for marketing in the portfolio of central nervous system, said it was important to view depression - which is the leading cause for suicides - as a medical condition.
“Just as any other organ in the body can become ill or affected, so too can the brain.
"Various factors, not just chemical imbalances within certain sections of the brain, can lead to mental illnesses, including depression.”
Lombard believes that around 50% of people with depression don’t receive treatment.
Some of the signs of depression include concentration problems, fatigue, hopelessness, insomnia, overeating or appetite loss, and suicidal thoughts, he said.
“If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek professional help. Depression does not simply go away, and there is no shame in seeking help for it,” said Lombard.
* If you are feeling suicidal, contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) between 8am and 8pm Monday to Sunday on 011 234 4837.
For a suicide-related emergency, contact Sadag on 0800 567 567 or the 24-hour helpline 0800 12 13 14.