NAMIBIAN men are taking their own lives at a higher rate than women, as 559 men have committed suicide since last year.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the country’s suicide rate between January 2021 and May 2022 stood at 679, comprising 559 men, 91 women, and 29 children.
In the same period, 18 boys and 11 girls took their lives.
“Different interventions for men and boys are strongly required in this case,” deputy minister of health and social services Esther Muinjangue yesterday said at a press conference in Windhoek.
The Omusati, Ohangwena and Khomas regions recorded the highest suicide rates in the country with 105, 100, and 80, respectively.
Muinjangue said the same regions reported the most suicides from January 2020 to June 2021 as well, with the Omusati region recording 111 cases, while the Ohangwena and Khomas regions recorded 99 cases each.
“Based on this, the Omusati, Ohangwena, and Khomas regions need to double their efforts in the prevention of suicidal behaviour,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Oshikoto region is in fourth place with 65 incidents of people taking their own lives, followed by the Oshana region with 56 cases, Otjozondjupa with 48 cases, Erongo with 44 incidents, Kavango East with 34 incidents, and the Kavango West region with 30 cases.
The //Kharas region recorded 29 incidents, followed by the Hardap region with 25 cases, while 24 incidents were recorded in the Zambezi region, followed by Omaheke with 20 incidents, and the Kunene region with 19 cases.
Muinjangue said there has been a dramatic rise in the frequency and magnitude of suicide and mental health incidents in the country recently, threatening large populations living in diverse communities.
“If these trends continue, the costs associated with suicide and negative mental health incidents would continue to increase and place more people at risk,” she said.
“The country needs immediate public information and education on national disaster or emergency preparedness, response, prevention and mitigation,” Muinjangue said.