Police raise concerns about rise in suicide rate

Port Elizabeth police have signalled a red light in their concern for the recent increase in the number of suicides in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
ANOTHER SUICIDE: Port Elizabeth police have signalled a red light in their concern for the recent increase in the number of suicides in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
Image: 123RF/Paul Fleet

Port Elizabeth police have raised a red flag with regard to the recent increase in the number of suicides in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

Police spokesperson Col Priscilla Naidu said in the past three months police had opened more than 35 inquest cases relating to suicides.

According to Naidu, most of these involve people between the ages of  20 and 39.

“In cases where persons were over the age of 60, it was established that most of them lived alone,” Naidu said.

During the festive season there was usually an increase in the suicide rate and in many instances the person did not leave a suicide note, she said.

“The police have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all our citizens against criminals. However, a suicidal person may not necessarily ask for help and if one does not recognise the warning signs or take any threat seriously, the result is death,” Naidu said.

It was important that parents, friends, children and employees be aware and informed about suicide tendencies Naidu said.

“Suicide does not discriminate, it is prevalent across all races, genders and socioeconomic groups.

“People don’t commit suicide because they want to die, they simply see no other solution for their problems — pain, rejection, hurt, loss, loneliness or victimisation.

“Remarks about suicide and attempts are not attention-seeking behaviour and should be taken seriously,” Naidu said.

Some warning signs include:

  • when a person talks about death or suicide in general;
  • withdrawing from friends or family or expressing feelings of isolation;
  • a drastic change in behaviour;
  • sleeping too little or too much;
  • increased use of alcohol or drugs; and
  • depression.

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