Depression

Updated 12 September 2014

SA has eighth highest suicide rate

South Africa has the eighth highest suicide rate in the world with approximately 8000 suicides per year and suicide being the third largest cause of unnatural death in the country.

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South Africa has the eighth highest suicide rate in the world, the SA Federation for Mental Health said on Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Fatima Seedat said the country had approximately 8000 suicides a year. Around one million suicides were recorded each year globally.

"Based on this, suicide is the third greatest cause of unnatural death in the country," Seedat said in a statement.

Around 230 people tried to commit suicide daily, while 23 succeeded.

Seedat's statement came as the world marked Suicide Prevention Day.

"In commemoration of this day, it is of vital importance to spread the message that suicide is preventable and that there is help available out there for people in need of support," she said.

Read: Suicide statistics in SA


Research showed that psycho-social factors such as untreated mental illness, substance abuse, family problems, trauma, rape, and poverty could contributing to suicidal feelings.

According to studies around 70 percent of people who committed suicide showed warning signs.

"Some of the warning signs are; talking or thinking about death often, clinical depression, the loss of interest in things one used to care about, putting affairs in order, a sudden change in behaviour, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, and giving away possessions," Seedat said.

People with signs of depression needed to be reminded that there was help available.

The World Health Organisation found that despite the high number of suicides across the globe, help for people thinking of committing suicide was not prioritised in the public health system.


Read More:
Suicide checklist
If your friend or child is suicidal
Abuse ups suicide risk

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Michael Simpson has been a senior psychiatric academic, researcher, and Professor in several countries, having worked at London University in the UK; McMaster University in Canada; Temple University in Philadelphia, USA.; and the University of Natal in South Africa.

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