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Men’s Health Month

In light of Men’s Health MonthAffinity Health highlights the major current South African crisis that is Male Suicide.


There are an estimated 23 suicides each day in South Africa. Men are four times likelier than women to commit suicide.


More on this: What Are the Top 10 Male Health Problems?


“Suicide is preventable. With treatment and lifestyle modifications, individuals can begin to feel better. They can seek the tools and support they need,” says Murray Hewlett, Affinity Health CEO.


According to studies, females attempt suicide more often than men. But men commit suicide more than females. Researchers guessed that this might be because men are likelier to use fatal weapons. There may also be more genetic risk factors related to suicide.

  • A record of past suicide attempts.
  • A previous history of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Having a mental health issue, such as depression or bipolar disorder, is a sign of mental illness.
  • A medical condition, such as:
    • Chronic disease
    • Terminal illness
    • Depression
    • Chronic pain
    • Cancer
    • Substance abuse

Mental conditions like depression are a risk factors for suicide. But not all suicides are because of mental illness. 54% of suicide victims between 1999 and 2016 had not been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.


There are a variety of potential causes of suicide. Often, many variables link the development of suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

People who consider or attempt suicide tend to do so because they feel incapable of coping with life. They may experience the following feelings:

  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Loneliness

These emotions may result from a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress
  • The dissolution of a relationship
  • Financial or legal difficulties
  • Illness
  • Physical distress
  • Disagreement with family or friends
  • The illness or death of a relative
  • Loneliness
  • Retirement
  • Unemployment
  • LGBTI prejudice


Among men, warning symptoms of suicide or suicidal ideation include:

  • Erratic mood swings.
  • Discussing suicide, death, or dying.
  • Increased alcohol or drug consumption.
  • Alterations to a meal plan.
  • Inconsistent sleeping patterns.
  • Disrupted routine.
  • Alterations in personality, such as intense anxiety or hopelessness.
  • Isolation from other individuals.
  • Participating in dangerous behaviour.
  • Obtaining a handgun or other lethal means of suicide.
  • Giving away money or belongings.
  • Wishing someone farewell as if they may never see them again.

Not everyone will exhibit indicators of suicidal ideation. Even if they do, the signs may be subtle. They can vary a lot between individuals.


If you know someone who is in imminent danger of self-harm, suicide, or harming others:

  • Ask the uncomfortable question: Are you considering suicide?
  • Listen to the individual without passing judgment.
  • Talk with a certified crisis counsellor.
  • Stay with the individual until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, drugs, and other hazardous items.
  • Call SADAG – Africa’s Largest Mental Health Organisation (Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567).
  • Or contact your local emergency number if you are in imminent danger of self-harm or suicide.


Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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