Namibia: Suicide Is a Significant Public Health Concern Says Health Minister

623 suicide cases were recorded between August 2022 and June 2023 and out of these, 511 (82%) were male, while 92 (15%) were female.

This was highlighted during the commemoration of the 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday by the Minister of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), Dr. Kalumbi Shangula.

Shangula also noted that 3.2% or 20 individuals from the youth demographic are included in the total number of suicides, which is a cause of concern.

"This illustrates that the death rate by suicide is 21 per 100,000 population, with the highest incidence being experienced in Omusati, Oshikoto, and Hardap Regions," he said.

According to Shangula, these numbers confirm that suicide is a significant public health concern in Namibia and must serve as a call to action to prevent further incidences of suicide.

Shangula meanwhile said the Directorate Social Welfare Services, in the MoHSS, has established a national suicide prevention and treatment action group, which is a multisectoral team of experts consisting of different offices, ministries, and agencies of government, including regional chief social workers representing their regional action groups.

"The national action group is developing the second Suicide Prevention and Treatment Strategic Plan 2024-2028 with a clear implementation plan, as well as the Suicide Prevention Community Toolkit," he added.

The tools will provide guidelines on the establishment and strengthening of suicide prevention and treatment programs in all regions. These tools will be finalized and launched during the current financial year.

The 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day is being commemorated under the theme "Creating Hope Through Action".

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