Parliament yesterday learnt that Botswana Police Service has recorded 3,030 suicide cases in the last decade. Statistics show that 2010 registered the highest number of 338 followed by 2012 at 333.
The startling information was shared following a question from MP for Mmadinare, Kefentse Mzwinila who wanted to know from minister of Defence, Justice and Security how many suicide cases were recorded from January 2005 to date. He also wanted to know if the Ministry had a dedicated 24-hour suicide prevention toll free number, and if not what plans were in place to ensure the service was adopted and how Batswana could access it.
In response, minister Shaw Kgathi noted that in addition to the deaths, the number of attempted suicides recorded during the same period stood at 260.
“The highest cases of attempted suicides were recorded in 2015 with 46 cases followed by 2013 with 45 cases. We have not dedicated 24 hours suicide prevention toll free numbers. However the Botswana Police Service has a 24 hour toll free and 999 emergency numbers which were dedicated to
To which, Mzwinila asked the minister whether they were not intending to do something on reducing the number of suicide cases by a toll free number.
“Don’t you think that this could help in saving lives? Again don’t you think it is time for the Ministry to be training police officers who could assist in counselling people who attempted suicide and how to deal with issues of suicide. I am looking at the fact that today officers only go to collect a corpse of a person who committed suicide, but they do not know how to handle issues of attempted suicide,” Mzwinila asked. In response Kgathi commended Mzwinila for raising a good point saying that his Ministry would look into it.
He admitted that his Ministry had not thought of having a toll free number for suicide prevention.