Wits suicide triggers renewed conversation on mental health

Suicide and mental health have been at the centre of many online and public conversations following various publicised incidents of people taking their own lives in the few past months. According to the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 people commit suicide every year worldwide.

Wits university confirmed in a statement on Thursday that a student had fallen to his death from a building in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday night. Wits also confirmed that another student is receiving treatment after an attempted suicide at one of the residences on the same night.

The student’s death is the third incident involving a Wits student this year.

Mental health was also put into the spotlight this week after the death of rapper HHP on Wednesday. SowetanLIVE reported he was found dead on the floor in his bedroom and left the following words: “I’m depressed. I’m going out of control. I’m losing it.”

HHP has previously opened up about his mental health struggles and said he had tried to commit suicide on several occasions. 

Both incidents have again sparked the conversation around how to cope with mental health as well as suicide prevention. Clinical Psychologist Cassandra Govender says suicide is often a sign that a problem has been left untreated. 

Govender said triggers such as anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses are warning signs that precede suicide. “While not all people respond the same to challenges, mental illness can happen to anyone,” said Govender .

With October being Mental Health Awareness Month, Govender said it’s important to seek treatment. 

“As a society, recognising and validating the presence of mental illness and advocating for individuals to seek treatment before it comes to the stage of suicide is important.”

On Twitter, people spoke out about the lack of understanding surrounding mental health issues in South Africa.

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