Young people in Port St Johns commit suicide at an alarming rate

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The community of Bulawu, made up of five villages in the Port St Johns area, is struggling to come to terms with a number of suicide-related deaths in their area.

In the past two years, more than 20 people mainly young people took their own lives within the community.

Villagers are demanding urgent intervention from relevant government departments to stop the youth from killing themselves.

There are many social ills and problems in the region including unemployment, poverty and a collapse of family structures, with many people struggling with anxiety, trauma and depression.

Frank Madlidli says, “We have lost our brother because of poverty and the way of living. He did not have a good way of living and he decided to kill himself because he did not see what to do with his life. Whenever he tried to make any project, those things all failed. So he did not get any income to achieve his goals. And with his future plans, he saw himself as a useless person so he decided to kill himself.”

September 10, 2022, marked World Suicide Prevention Day:

The residents in the area believe that jobs will pull young people out of the grip of despair. Port St Johns Creative Women project’s Xoliswa Rholo says the problem is deep-rooted.

Rholo says, “The youth in our villages are educated but they have no jobs and they end up living in their villages as useless, doing nothing and you will find that some take drugs, while others just decide to commit suicide.”

Community leader Mncedisi Tsili says the villagers also want psycho-social support systems to be brought closer to the people.

The Social Development provincial spokesperson Mzukisi Solani says there are services available for people contemplating suicide.

Solani says, “We have services of our social workers and fraternal organisations readily available to offer counselling and advice and psycho-social support for those who are going through tough times. We also want to appeal to anyone or communities that are suspecting that someone is contemplating taking their life due to ongoing stress, anxiety and trauma to please also urgently contact our social workers or available resources like Lifeline at 0861 3223 22.”

The latest suicide victim will be buried this week. Just last week three youths were buried near Mthatha, all suspected to have committed suicide.

Concerns about the high suicide rate among men

Infographic: Suicide Rates Around the World | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista