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Around 40 pupils have taken their own lives this year

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
11 September 2023 | 22:06 CAT

Image: NewsClick

The deployment of social workers and anti-crime technology is being ramped up at schools as the Gauteng education department tries to mitigate the spillover of societal ills into classrooms.

An estimated 300 pupil deaths from different causes have been reported to the department since the start of the 2023 academic year. The department said 40 of these were allegedly suicides.

The most recent incident occurred on Friday when an 11-year-old Grade 5 pupil from Anzac Primary School in Brakpan took her own life after her parents reprimanded her for the alleged theft of R300.

Radio Islam International discussed the issue of child suicides with the SA Depression and Anxiety Group’s Fatima Seedat.

Pupils are confronted with “a variety of problems” that could make them feel hopeless and overwhelmed, including anxiety, depression, bullying, violence, intimidation, misunderstanding, lack of support structure, and unwanted pregnancies.

According to Seedat, many pupils faced with challenges do not speak about what they are going through, leaving them undiagnosed and untreated for some of the mental illnesses that they are experiencing.

It has recently been discovered that the most common type pupils use in the final step, which is readily available, is rat poison.

According to Seedat, pupils choose what they want to die by. Usually, pupils have so much access to social media and the internet, highlighting many ideas and ways to attempt or die by suicide.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane has announced a plan to address pupil suicides.

“As the department, we are devastated by these deaths and believe those numbers constitute far too many young lives that have been taken away from their families, friends and our schools before reaching their full potential. We pledge our solidarity and support to the families and friends that were befallen by these tragic, premature deaths,” said Chiloane.

Listen to the full interview with Mufti Yusuf Moosagie on Your World Today.

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