· All statistics were taken from a recent study done by Lourens Schlebush & Naseema B. M. Vawda, as part of a larger ongoing study, the “Durban Parasuicide Study”. It was conducted between 1st July 1997 and 31st June 1998, in the King Edward VIII hospital in Durban. In that time 125 parasuicides presented in total.

· In 1988, at the same hospital, the percentage of the total parasuicides presenting who were black South Africans, was 17,1%.

· In this study, the percentage had increased by 58,1%, with the percentage of parasuicides that were black South Africans now being 75,2%.

· It is also thought that these figures may actually be an under-representation of the situation, as black South Africans are now able to attend hospitals, that were formerly reserved for whites only. So this hospital that was formerly the primary catchment hospital for black South Africans, no longer is.

· The reason given by the researchers for this increase in parasuicides in the black community is that due to the post-apartheid transition in the SA society, black people are struggling to come to terms with the deleterious effects of former racial policies and socio-cultural pressures.

· Of the total number of parasuicides, 71,3% were women, while 24.5% were 18 years old or younger.

· Of those in the 18 years or younger age group, 91,3% were women.

· The average age of the men (25,7) was slightly higher than that of the women (25)

Precipitating factors:

· V Code diagnoses made up the majority of precipitating factors. Of these, 38,7% were Partner relational problems. 31,9% were Parent-Child problems.

· In the 18 years and younger group, Parent-child problems constituted 69,6% of the precipitating factors.

Methods chosen:

· 49% overdosed on tablets (mainly medicinal substances)

· 40,4% ingested liquids (poisons and paraffin)

· +/- 7% used hanging and throat laceration

· 3,2% combined liquids and tablets

· 9,6% of females had a personal or family history of psychiatric disorders, and 7,5% of the males did have a history of substance abuse, although it was not the presenting diagnosis at the time of parasuicide.

Education and Employment:

· 80,9% had high school education (although not all completed yet)

· 36,2% were still studying – either at school or at tertiary institutions, of these:

· 29,8% were females

· 6,4% were males

· 25,6% females were unemployed

· 7,5% of males were unemployed

Most Common Diagnoses:

· Total Group:

· 38,7% had Partner relational problems

· 31,9% had Parent-child relational problems

· In the under 18 age group:

· 69,6% had Partner relational problems

· 14,3% had Parent-child relational problems

· Amongst females:

· 30,9% had Partner relational problems

· Overall relationship problems accounted for 70,6% of the total diagnoses and for 83,9% of the diagnoses in the 18 years and younger age group.


· Psychotherapy – 37,2%

· Psychotherapy and social work intervention – 19,1%

· Psychotherapy & Psychiatric (psychotropic) treatment – 13,8%