According to WHO, a suicide occurs every 40 seconds and an attempt is made every 3 seconds. Suicide in South Africa is a problem. It is reported that suicide in South Africa occurs at a 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). Statistics South Africa’s 2016 Mortality and Causes of Death reported 425 deaths were due to self-harm. However suicide is often under-reported. According to statistics majority of suicides were committed by males. 14 men all of ages died by suicide every day. Suicide is also the 4th leading cause of death for young people.

Holiday seasons, Sunday evenings and Monday mornings are among the peak times that suicides may occur .  Any celebrations or special days, like a birthday, or the anniversary of the death of a loved one, can also be reminders that trigger suicidal feelings.

Warning signs

Be concerned about depressed persons if at least five of the following symptoms have been present nearly every day for at least two weeks:

– Depressed mood

– Change in sleeping patterns

– Change in appetite or weight

– Speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness

– Fatigue or loss of energy

– Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt

– Thoughts of death or suicide


Additional factors that point to an increased risk for suicide in depressed individuals are:

– Extreme anxiety, agitation or enraged behaviour

– Excessive drug and / or alcohol use or abuse

– History of physical or emotional illness

– Feelings of hopelessness or desperation


What to do?

If you or anyone you know needs help or to chat, please use the following contact numbers for free counseling and suicide prevention hotlines:


Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline:
0800 70 80 90


Destiny Helpline for Youth & Students:
0800 41 42 43


ADHD Helpline: 0800 55 44 33


Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Line 24 hour helpline: 0800 12 13 14

SMS 32312


 Lifeline’s Counselling Number: 0861 322 322


Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567

SMS 31393


Sadag Mental Health Line: 011 234 4837