As a matter of fact: What does research say about teen suicide in South Africa?

Issues of mental illness have received much-needed attention and coverage over the past few months, with Mental Health Awareness Month observed in October.

This is had led to a series of claims being made around depression and suicide.

With a focus on teen depression, one claim is that 1 in 10 teenage deaths in South Africa are as a result of suicide and that almost 20% of high school learners have tried to take their lives.

Senior researcher at Africa Check, Kate Wilkinson debunks these claims.

When it comes to issues like this, accurate information is important to understand the problem but also address the problem.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

A lot of people who published this data actually attributed it to a group and that was the psychiatry management group and they had issued a press release picked up by a number of publications. We asked them what it was based on and when we look at the first claim, they pointed us to a press release from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

We went straight away to check the numbers against Statistics South Africa's data. When we looked at the latest report from 2016, what we saw was that when it came to people/teenagers age 13 to 19, Stats SA recorded 55 deaths due to self harm.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

That accounts for about 1 in 100 deaths.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

Click on the link below to listen to the full conversation....


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