Every year, the 10th of September is dedicated to World Suicide Prevention Day. This year, the SA Federation for Mental Health is commemorating the day by announcing the launch of My Mental, a new youth focused website aimed at supporting the mental health of South African youth. (

According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death worldwide among 15–29-year-olds. In South Africa, studies have shown that 9.5% of non-natural deaths in young people are as a result of suicide. Research by Professor Lourens Schlebush of the University of KwaZulu-Natal have also found that in South African youth most suicides occur in the 15-19 year age group, followed by the 10-14 year age group.

Suicide itself is not a mental disorder, but one of the most important causes of suicide is often mental illness – such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder or substance use disorders.

South Africa’s youth are currently growing up in very difficult social and economic circumstances. Recent findings from Statistics South Africa show that over three million young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently unemployed, and many young South African’s are exposed to violent crime and domestic abuse on a daily basis. All of this has a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and impacts on their ability to function at school, in the workplace, and to have healthy and happy personal relationships.

My Mental has been created to provide South African youth with an accessible online resource that can educate and empower them in terms of mental health and wellbeing. The website provides articles, factsheets and infographics on topics such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide, substance abuse and exam stress, and the information will constantly be updated and added to in an effort to make it as relevant and helpful to young people as possible. It will also provide a portal through which young people can engage with SAFMH, ask questions, seek support and gather more information on mental health as and when they require it. SAFMH hopes that this online informational tool will be useful and helpful to South African youth, and that it will assist them in taking care of their mental health.


Marthé Kotze

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

SA Federation for Mental Health


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