Africa has world's highest suicide rates - WHO

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The World Health Organization says Africa has the highest rate of people dying by suicide in the world.

In a statement , the agency said Africa is home to six of the 10 countries with the highest suicide rates globally.

The continent is said to have one psychiatrist for every 500,000 inhabitants - 100 times less than the WHO recommendation.

Around 11 people per 100,000 per year die by suicide in the African region, higher than the global average of nine per 100,000 people, the WHO says.

Mental health problems account for up to 11% of the risk factors associated with suicide, it continued.

The agency added that mental health workers are mostly located in urban areas on the continent.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said suicide was a major public health problem, although prevention is rarely a priority in national health programs.

The organisation has now launched a social media suicide prevention campaign in the continent to raise awareness and encourage action.

The social media campaign was launched ahead of World Mental Health Day marked on 10 October.

The WHO aims to reach 10 million people across the continent.

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