Namibian suicide rate drops

Last year 368 cases of suicide were reported in Namibia, compared to 464 cases reported in 2015.

14 September 2017 | Social Issues

ELLANIE SMIT



While Namibia had previously been described as one of the countries with the highest suicide rates in the world, newly released data indicates that suicides in the country have actually declined over the past few years.

Namibia has a suicide rate of 7.7 people per 100 000, according to the latest data released by the World Health Organisation. In the year 2000 the rate was 10 and in 2005 9.1 people per 100 000.

Namibia’s suicide rate is below both the global and regional suicide averages, which are 10.7 and 8.8 people per 100 000 respectively.

The suicide rate in Angola is 20.5 per 100 000, in South Africa 10.7, in Botswana 10.7, in Botswana 10.5 and in Zambia 6.4.

According to the WHO close to 800 000 people commit suicide every year, which amounts to one person every 40 seconds, and many more attempt suicide.

The organisation says suicide is the second leading cause of death in the age group 15 to 29.

According to statistics the highest suicide rate in Namibia is among men, with a rate of 11.7 people per 100 000 recorded in 2015. This figure stood at 15.8 in 2000.

For women the suicide rate is much lower and in 2015 it stood at 3.8 people per 100 000, declining from 4.5 in 2000.

Statistics of suicides among 15-to-29-year-olds in Namibia indicate that the average rate is 10.4, and it declined from 13.6 since 2000.

For men in this age group the rate was 21.5 in the year 2000 and it dropped to 16.4 in 2015.

The suicide rate for women in this age group was 5.5 in 2015, decreasing from 6.5 in 2000.

Earlier this year it was reported that an alarming number of 2 190 people had opted to end their own lives since 2012, increasing concern among local authorities.

Last year 368 cases of suicide were reported in Namibia, a slight reduction compared to the 464 incidents of suicide reported in 2015.

According to WHO, 78% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015. Suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 17th leading cause of death in 2015. Effective and evidence-based interventions can be implemented at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.

There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide, the organisation says.

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