The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is highlighting Teen Suicide Prevention Week (11-18 February) to help parents, teachers and loved ones with tips and information to talk about teen depression and suicide prevention to their teens.
One in four South African teens have attempted suicide and talking to teens about depression and suicide can help prevent them from taking their life.
Most people are too scared to talk about the topic, or if they do they don’t know what to say. “For many teenagers adolescence is a transition into a different state of life – of the beginning of living itself – however, unfortunately for some, it can also be the end of their life altogether. Teen suicides are real and rob many young people of a future and our society of a future. Let us speak about teen suicide today so that we may never have to again in the future,” says clinical psychologist Zamo Mbele.
According to the Institute of Race Relations‚ South Africa has a higher rate of suicide mortality compared to other African countries, reports The Times. "South Africa has a suicide mortality rate of 10.7 per 100 000 people‚ which is higher than the comparable rate for Botswana (9.7)‚ Egypt (2.6)‚ Malawi (5.5) and Nigeria (9.9)‚" said the institute's analyst‚ Tawanda Makumbo. South Africa‚ however‚ has lower rates than Angola which has a suicide rate of 20.5 per 100 000. Cameroon is at 11.9 and Swaziland at 14.7.
Sadag says: “More recently‚ we have seen reports…of children as young as six-years-old who have committed suicide. (In January)‚ there were reports of an 8 year old girl who died from suicide in Durban.”
Last year‚ at least two primary school children‚ aged six and nine‚ were found dead in what appeared to be acts of suicide in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. One was found dead after reportedly hanging himself in the school toilet while the other was believed to have hanged himself on the school swing.
Sadag said hanging was the most frequently employed method of suicide among youngsters in South Africa‚ followed by shooting‚ gas inhalation and burning. "Risk factors for suicide among the young include the presence of mental illness – especially depression‚ conduct disorder‚ alcohol and drug abuse; previous suicide attempts; and the availability of firearms in the home. In South Africa 60% of people who commit suicide are depressed‚" the group said.The Times report