At least 700 people committed suicide in Botswana in the past two years, as challenges of mental health have increased exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Minister Edwin Dikoloti told an event marking World Mental Health Day.
“This year’s commemoration takes place at a critical time when mental illnesses are the greatest challenge facing our society today,” Dikoloti said Tuesday in Lobatse, a village 70 km southeast of Gaborone, capital of Botswana.
The minister said many people in Botswana found themselves suffering from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety that have severely affected the quality of their lives and those of their loved ones.
Society needs to come together and show support to those going through difficulties because life is too precious to be cut short through suicide, Dikoloti said.
According to the World Health Organization, 970 million people around the world struggle with mental illness and substance use while mental health conditions are increasing by 13 percent annually.