United Nations stated on Thursday that Africa needs to address its high suicide rate, which is the highest in the world yet is often ignored and frequently stigmatised.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), six of the top ten countries in the world with the highest suicide rates are in Africa, and the continent has a higher per-suicide rate than other areas by more than a fifth.
“Around 11 people per 100,000 per year die by suicide in the African region, higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people,” the agency’s Africa branch said.
The two most common techniques are hanging and chemical poisoning.
Prior to World Mental Health Day on October 10, the organisation made an appeal to raise awareness of the issue.
“Suicide is a major public health problem and every death by suicide is a tragedy. Unfortunately, suicide prevention is rarely a priority in national health programmes,” said regional director Matshidiso Moeti.
According to the WHO, stigma is a major issue, as is a lack of finance.
The WHO recommends that there be one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people, however on average there are only one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people in Africa. The shortage of therapists is particularly severe in nations that have experienced conflict.
In Africa, fewer than 50 cents per person are spent on mental health, which is less than a fourth of UN recommendations.