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By: Justicia Shipena and Julia Heita

A group of Namibians took to the streets the commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day in the capital on Friday.

This comes after Namibia recorded high numbers of suicide during the period of January 2020 to June this year.

Of these numbers, Omusati region tops the list with 111 suicide cases.

Moreover, Khomas region topped the list of 330 suicide attempts.

The statistics were announced by deputy health minister Ester Muinjangue during the launch of the Khomas Suicide Prevention Taskforce (KSPT).

According to Muinjangue Khomas is the second top region with 99 suicide cases and second with six cases of juveniles who ended their lives.

“This is an indication that suicidal behaviour is a serious problem in Khomas region. Many of the suicide victims had previous attempts before suicide, therefore, it is a big grave concern when a region has high numbers of suicide attempts,” she expressed.

Muinjangue said suicide is increasing at an alarming rate and it is among the top twenty leading causes of death worldwide.

“Close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year, which means every 40 seconds someone dies of suicide,” she said.

According to a study by the health ministry three year ago, Namibia has one of the highest suicide rates in the world and the fourth highest in Africa.

“The study further indicates the triggers to suicide attempts are romantic relationship, break-ups, followed by family problems, financial crises, death of a loved one and physical or verbal abuse by spouse,” she explained.

At the same event, the World Suicide Prevention Day was observed under the theme ‘Creating Hope Through Action.

The day is aimed at raising awareness on the prevention of suicide while promoting preventative measures in order to reduce the statistics globally.

“By creating hope through action, we give an indication to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them,” said Muinjangue.

She further said suicide is a layered and complex issue and the KSPT is a good driver of prevention.

“We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide.”

Speaking during the launch, Tuhafeni Talia, chairperson of KSPT said the idea of a suicide prevention programme was birthed due to the high rates of suicide in the Khomas.

“Therefore, our first stakeholders meeting were held last year. The dream of reaching the community has risen but due to Covid-19 we only managed to visit a few communities,” she said.

Talia added that the taskforce is established to create awareness and interventions on the prevention of suicide behavior.

“We are striving towards zero suicide in the Khomas region,” she said.

The taskforce has various activities lined up with schools and community members on suicide prevention.

“We will continue to share information on suicide prevention via the media presentations,” she said.

Joseph Shikongo, deputy inspector general of operations in the Namibian Police Force, who is also the advisor to the KSPT, said the nation should stand firm and strong during at all times.

“It is important that the society remains humane and supportive to each other during both the happy times and times of hardship and sorrow. This is the only way that we can triumph and prevail in this world which is full of problems and hardship,” he said.

Shikongo urged members of society to unite against suicide and offer support to those in need.

“Let us commemorate this day by remembering all those that have perished due to suicide, in our strive to reduce, if not to totally eliminate suicide cases in our country,” he said.



Justicia Shipena

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