World Suicide Prevention Day: KZN & Gauteng highest rate of deaths according to report


September 10 is a day dedicated to raise awareness about suicide prevention and the consequences of failed suicide attempts.

World Suicide Prevention Day is basically tell people that committing suicide is never the solution, and dealing with problems maturely is the only way to end them. 

WSPD is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and WHO has been a co-sponsor of the day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented.

Where does South Africa and India sit on the WHO report?

While suicide is a largely preventable public health problem, the report released ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) which is being observed on September 10, pegged India’s suicide rate at 16.5 suicides per 1,00,000 people.

It is recorded that approximately 800 000 people take their own lives every year, with South Africa holding the sixth highest rate of suicide in Africa.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a new report.

“Despite progress, one person still dies every 40 seconds from suicide,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Every death is a tragedy for family, friends and colleagues. Yet suicides are preventable. We call on all countries to incorporate proven suicide prevention strategies into national health and education programmes in a sustainable way.”

Sri Lanka stands second in the region with a suicide rate of 14.6 and Thailand (14.4) at the third spot. As per the statistics released, India also had the third-highest female suicide rate (14.7) in the world after Lesotho (24.4) and Republic of Korea (15.4).

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Suicide prevention also features in one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Liberty report marks Gauteng & KwaZulu Natal with high suicide rates

Suicides nearly doubled in Gauteng over the past year, raising questions over increased social, financial and political stressors in SA, according to Liberty’s claims statistics, which were released in May 2019.

The number of suicides in Gauteng increased from 78 in 2017, to 152 in 2018 and makes up 2.51% of all claims.  KwaZulu-Natal had the second-highest number of suicides, followed by the Western Cape. The highest rate was among young parents between 35 and 45, followed by empty nesters, 55 years and older, established providers (45-55) and young achievers (25-35).

Another emerging trend in Gauteng was that it made up more than 31% of all motor vehicle accident claims across the country.

Some of the staggering statistics out of the WHO report are:

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  • Around 800,000 people commit suicide every year in the world.
  • Suicide is responsible for more deaths than malaria, breast cancer, war or even homicide, according to the WHO. It was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, claiming 200,000 lives in 2016, topped only by road injury.
  • It also ranked second among women (after maternal conditions) in the same age group and third among men (after road injury).
  • For every suicide, there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
  • 79 percent of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries.
  • Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally. In addition, moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness along with experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation are strongly associated with suicidal behaviour.

Source Inputs: TimesLIVE |WHO|SADAG

ALSO READ: World Suicide Prevention Day: What is parasuicide?
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