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Suicide attempts in Africa 

Suicide attempts in Africa
Chapter:
Suicide attempts in Africa
Author(s):

Lourens Schlebusch

and Stephanie Burrows

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570059.003.0016
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date: 17 August 2019

An understanding of the full burden of suicidal behaviour in many parts of Africa has been hampered by a lack of systematic data collection. Paucity of research, poor research designs and other influences have contributed to this situation. Given the resultant variability in the reliability of figures across countries, regions and population groups, prudence is needed when interpreting data. The figures discussed in this chapter are not representative of the entire non-fatal suicidal population in Africa and only salient features are highlighted. Figures that are available indicate that, in some areas, the situation is more serious than generally thought. Even more alarming is that known data most likely do not reflect the true extent of the problem. There are substantial variations across gender, age, and ethnic groups. Overdose (especially poisoning) is one of the most common methods of attempted suicide. Psychopathology (especially mood disorders) and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and family-related problems are strongly associated with increased risk of suicidal behaviour.

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