Helena Johannes

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services, suicide cases in Namibia have spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Although the current statistic of people who have committed suicide this year is unknown, the ministry says suicide cases reported this far during the pandemic is worrisome significant numbers of people are choosing to end their lives due to different unbearable situations.

According to Ministry of Health Social Worker Jenifer Lifasi, cases of minors committing suicide in the country are on the rise, with Namibia ranked 11th in the world for these tragic cases according to an international suicide report of 2018/2019.

Police recorded 458 suicide cases during that same period, of which 36 were minors.

“Some of the factors contributing to the increase number of children committing suicide is bullying at school and the fear of examinations,” Lifasi said, adding that the detection of depression among children is very low, “but parents should get to see changes in their children’s behaviors which include antisocial and quietness.”

“Parents must educate and normalize tightening communication between them and their children to create an openness pace for their children when they want to speak up on matters bothering them.”

Clinical Psychologist, Lani de Kock urged parents to be vigilant about their children regarding the usage of social media platforms. There some who may watch videos or read content that is inappropriate for their age group. This can negatively affect their emotions if they are not under proper supervision.

“Parents should keep an eye on their kids especially this time of the pandemic when the usage of cellphones and computers by children is on the rise due to online classes.” De Kock said.

Leigh-Ann Black, a Senior Social Worker at Etegameno Rehabilitation Center said people who are economically active are also more vulnerable to suicide as they are undergoing depression due to loss of jobs attributed to Covid-19. They have received an alarming number of people presenting with substantive disorders such as depression at their rehabilitation center.

“Mental health conditions and depression which are the main causes of suicide may be preventable with medication and psychological therapy. We have recommended social workers in every region across the country,” she said.