amibia’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula, announced that the country recorded 623 suicide cases between August 2022 and June 2023. This grim statistic, disclosed during the 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day in the capital, Windhoek, underscores the urgent need for action to address this growing public health concern.
Of the reported suicides, 82 percent, or 511 cases, were males, while 15 percent, or 92 cases, were females. Even more concerning is that 3.2 percent, or 20 individuals, came from the youth demographic. The data reveals a troubling suicide rate of 21 per 100,000 population, with Omusati, Oshikoto, and Hardap Regions experiencing the highest incidence.
Minister Shangula emphasized that these numbers demand immediate attention and action from the government and society at large. To combat this crisis, the Directorate Social Welfare Services in the Ministry of Health and Social Services has established a national suicide prevention and treatment action group. This multidisciplinary team, comprising experts from various government offices, ministries, and agencies, including regional chief social workers, is actively developing the second Suicide Prevention and Treatment Strategic Plan for the years 2024-2028, along with an implementation plan and the Suicide Prevention Community Toolkit.
These tools are intended to provide guidelines for establishing and strengthening suicide prevention and treatment programs across all regions of Namibia. They are expected to be finalized and launched during the current financial year.
The theme for the 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day, “Creating Hope Through Action,” serves as a poignant reminder of the collective responsibility to address this crisis. Minister Shangula concluded by urging all stakeholders and the public to take meaningful action to create hope and prevent further tragedies.
Namibia now faces a critical juncture in its efforts to combat suicide, with the government’s commitment to proactive measures offering a ray of hope amidst this troubling trend.