In response to a concerning surge in suicides among students, the Gauteng Department of Education has committed to introducing 500 learner support agents (LSA) to schools.
The decision comes in the wake of the department observing a notable rise in student suicides. Steve Mabona, the spokesperson for the department, revealed that since the onset of the 2023 academic year, there have been 40 reported suicide cases in Gauteng schools.
“The number of deaths deeply saddens us as a department. These figures represent too many young lives lost, lives that had so much potential. Our hearts and support go out to the families and friends mourning these untimely losses,” Mabona expressed.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Mabona pointed out that suicide has become the primary cause of death among the youth, especially students.
Gauteng Department of Education’s Plan of Action
Matome Chiloane, the GDE MEC, detailed the department’s forthcoming initiatives:
“On the 21st of September, we have scheduled a meeting with the heads of 75 accredited schools. Beyond this, we’ve rolled out additional measures to bolster school safety and foster student welfare. These measures will be given top priority, with an emphasis on essential resources. We also aim to engage communities actively. We strongly encourage any student or individual grappling with emotional distress to reach out by dialing our Childline number at 116 116. This helpline is overseen by skilled social workers and psychologists to guarantee our students’ safety. Moreover, community members with suggestions or concerns regarding school safety can get in touch with the GD Call Center at 0800-000-789.”