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5 Jan 2017
10:16 am

Health MEC urges support for failed matriculants who may be suicidal


Poor matric results are often a contributory factor to high suicide rates among the youth.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Department of Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo. Picture Phumlani Thabethe

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on Thursday urged parents and guardians to be more supportive of those who did not perform well in the 2016 matric examinations.

In a statement, Dhlomo urged friends and relatives to be less judgmental and more supportive of those who did not do as well as they had hoped during the examinations. He said poor matric results were a contributory factor to the high suicide rates among South Africa’s youth.

“People who turn to desperate measures like suicide often feel helpless and alone. And each life lost to suicide, especially a young life, is one life too many,” said Dhlomo.

“We therefore must do all we can to prevent these tragedies, not just at a government level, but as civil society. It is a desperate call for help and we must respond collectively,” he said.

Dhlomo urged the public to be very vigilant when dealing with matric pupils from the class of 2016 who had not performed well in their exams.

He urged people to keep a lookout for warning signs that could include a change of behavior, a person giving away their belongings, loss of interest in what usually interested the affected person, jokes about suicide, self-criticism, and negative and aggressive behaviour.

“South Africa has the eighth-highest rate of suicide in the world, according to the SA Federation for Mental Health. Such statistics cannot be ignored. History has shown us that some matriculants who don’t do well at the exams tend to struggle to cope with the results and end up taking their own lives,” Dhlomo said.

KwaZulu-Natal attained a 69.5 percent pass rate, an improvement of 7.9 percent from 61.6 percent in 2015.