Loss of income due to lockdown sees spike in Gauteng suicide rate

Loss of income due to lockdown sees spike in Gauteng suicide rate

As residents in Gauteng continue to suffer from of the economically devastating Covid-19 lockdowns, cases of suicide in the province have increased by 90% .

Suicide/ iStock

Suicide cases reported during the 2019/20 financial year stood at 695 cases and have now increased to 1325 deaths reported since April 2020 to date.

The Democratic Alliance’s shadow MEC for Social Development in Gauteng, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, says with this drastic increase there are no programmes to tackle suicide by the Social Development department.

“It is disturbing is that the Gauteng Department of Social Development has no specific programmes that directly tackle the increase in suicide rates.

“In a reply to my written question to the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, it was revealed that the contributing factors to those choosing to end their life included depression, loss of income during the Covid-19 pandemic, financial difficulties, death of family members and domestic violence.”

According to Nt’sekhe the department only provides the bare minimum and more programmes are needed for mental illnesses and suicide prevention.

“While these services are the bare minimum that any social development department should provide, there is still an urgent need for government to formulate more programmes that are far more focused on the issues of suicide and mental illnesses. The stigma of these still exist in society and far too many people are suffering in silence and isolation.”

She adds that many victims feel that there is no help within their reach, and therefore need to be made more aware of what services are available and where they can access them.

“The department can start off with making their website far more easily accessible through a simple Google search, as it is currently impossible to find any such website. Imagine how frustrating this must be for someone considering suicide, but still trying to seek help.”


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