5 findings about suicide in Africa according to the World Health Organization in 2022

Growing suicide rate in Africa
  • Suicide is a growing problem in Africa. 
  • The growing rate of suicide is directly linked to the growing rate of mental health challenges on the continent.
  • There are hardly any concrete measures in the region currently, to combat this issue.

Owing to advancements in research, the world is slowly but surely realizing how prevalent suicide is.

Suicide is an issue that directly or indirectly affects almost everyone. The problem has direct ties to mental health problems and has sunk its talons deep into the core of human society.

Suicide is a global issue and as such is not relegated to any specific region, contrary to popular belief. It is a pandemic that doesn’t stir up the level of reaction it should and has become one of the leading causes of death globally.

Suicide is a topic that needs to be extensively discussed, and the procurement of solutions should be treated as urgently as the procurement of a vaccine for a contagious disease.


The World Health Organization recently released a report that touched on the topic of suicide in Africa, below are five of the most notable facts that they mentioned:

The highest rate of suicide: Africa currently has the highest rate of suicide of any continent. 11 out of 100,000 people die by suicide in Africa, against the world average of 9 out of 100,000 people Africa is also home to six of the 10 countries with the highest suicide rates worldwide.

Increase in mental health issues: The WHO found that the growing rate of suicide in Africa is directly tied to the growing rate of mental health issues in the region. Comparing the data from now and 30 years ago, around 116 million people in Africa are currently living with some form of mental health challenge against 53 million people recorded in 1990.

Preferred methods: According to the WHO, the preferred methods of suicide in Africa are hanging and pesticide self-poisoning and to a lesser extent drowning, use of a firearm, jumping from a height, or medication overdose.

Sub-par solutions: As a result of the little attention given to this problem in Africa, the issue continues to persist. For context, the WHO found that there is just 1 psychiatrist for every 500 000 inhabitants, which is 100 times less than the WHO’s recommendation. There are barely any hotlines to phone when dealing with suicidal thoughts and rural areas are almost entirely inattentive to the issue as a result of the lack of mental health workers.


Government negligence: The WHO discovered that governments of Africa pay little attention to the problem of suicide. African governments on average allocate less than 50 US cents per capita to mental health, compared to the recommended US$ 2 per capita for low-income countries. Also, mental health care is generally not included in national health insurance schemes.


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