About 18 percent of suicides reported in Namibia in 2014 took place in Oshana Region and victims included a worryingly high number of police officers.
A total of 477 suicides were reported that year, Oshana Police Regional Commander Commissioner Rauha Amwele revealed during the Namibian Police Suicide Awareness Campaign held here last week.
The campaign is aimed at reducing suicide in the police force and the nation at large.
Amwele said the majority of suicide victims are young adults who are of productive age.
According to Amwele, last year the police lost a large number of colleagues to suicide.
She noted that the governor of Oshana had started a police support group on April 12, 2013, consisting of members from the Women and Men Network and several colleagues.
In his keynote address, Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa reiterated Amwele’s sentiments that the suicide rate in Oshana is worrisome.
“It is high time we make sure that information on the prevention of suicide is given out publicly. The youth are the most suicidal. Committing suicide is not a solution, but a problem created for the people who are left behind,” Kashuupulwa said.
The governor said that funerals these days have become expensive, hence the need to prevent deaths where possible.
Kashuupulwa said that social workers are in the region to help with psychosocial issues.
A chief social worker from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Monika Erasmus, said that the aim of the campaign is to help prevent suicide. She said that the theme of the campaign is reaching out and saving lives. Statistics show that in 2012, 438 cases of suicide were reported of which 308 of the victims were male and 57 were female. In 2013, 461 cases of suicide were reported and 398 of the victims were male and 75 were female. Erasmus says the reason why the suicide rate is higher among males is because women talk about their problems.
She added that men mainly use firearms and knives to kill themselves, whereas women overdose.
According to Erasmus, alcohol and drug abuse, and physical and verbal abuse contribute to suicide. She says that communication is a good way to avoid suicide.