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No, SA doesn't have world's 8th highest suicide rate

Does South Africa have the eighth-highest suicide rate in the world? This claim has been reported several times in the last year.

This week it was published in a news report by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and a blog post on TheSouthAfrican.com. Both publications attributed the claim to the SA Federation for Mental Health.

But when Africa Check fact-checked the claim earlier this year the federation distanced itself from the statistic. The deputy director of the federation’s national office, Leon de Beer, told Africa Check that while they had previously publicised the statistic they were no longer sure if it was accurate.

Our investigation found no evidence to support the claim.

The most recent and comprehensive data on international suicide rates is released by the World Health Organisation. However, the organisation does not use the data to create rankings.

Experts caution against drawing comparisons on suicide deaths because of the difficulty in collecting data on these deaths. Suicide is usually under-reported, underestimated and poorly classified. Furthermore, the way suicide deaths are registered differs between countries, making comparison difficult.  - 11/9/2015

Additional reading

Does South Africa rank 8th in the world by suicide rate?

Do a third of South Africans really suffer from mental illnesses?

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