Now is the time to fight depression

Image: 123RF/lculig

More resources are needed to fight depression, as it continues to claim the lives of young and old South Africans every year.

According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation this year, 11.6 of every 100 000 people in the country commit suicide.

The world body said it was generally accepted that the majority of suicide cases and attempts were by persons suffering from depression, with an estimation of over 300 million people battling the condition globally.

The latest incident to hit the headlines locally was that of hip-hop star HHP, who allegedly committed suicide last week.

In an article in today's newspaper, some higher education institutions have released their latest suicide statistics.

Wits University reportedly recorded three deaths this year, with the latest incident being reported late last week.

The University of Johannesburg said there was one incident reported, the same as at the University of the Free State.

Rhodes made headlines in August when one of its students, Khensani Maseko, took her life after she was allegedly raped by her then boyfriend in May.

University of Cape Town lecturer Professor Bongani Mayosi also made news for allegedly ending it all.

Depression is real and it is about time it is treated as the deadly mental health disorder it is.

Most students at Wits University who spoke to this newspaper complained about a lack of counselling services at their university and how they were expected to wait for up to two weeks for an appointment. This is unacceptable.

We call on the government, NGOs and the private sector to ensure that there are facilities providing counselling to communities on a one-to-one basis and telephonically on a 24-hour basis.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group is there but it is not enough to cover everyone.

We also call on the department of health to prioritise depression and ensure there are awareness campaigns and that its sufferers are attended to with the urgency the condition deserves.

Nobody should die if there are ways to assist them; now is the time to act.

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