The South African Psychiatric Society states that nearly one in ten adolescent deaths in South Africa each year is the result of suicide. He adds that up to 20% of high school learners have attempted suicide. These statistics are alarming.
Teenagers face many problems, especially peer pressure. Some are exposed to bullying, which can lead to mental health issues.
The reasons for feeling suicidal can vary. However, the first step in preventing your child from becoming a statistic is to know the signs of suicide.
READ: Coping with suicide – expert advice
Below, SADAG highlights some of the most common signs that someone is feeling suicidal:
– Loss of interest in the things you like to do
– Sadness that does not go away
– Irritability or feelings of intense anger.
– Feeling guilty or hopeless
– Not enjoying the things you once loved
– Feeling tense or worrying a lot
– Cry a lot
– Spending a lot of time alone
– Eating too much or too little
– Sleeping too much or too little
– Having low energy or restless feelings
– feeling very tired
– Often misses school
– Difficulty making decisions
– Having difficulty thinking or paying attention
– Thinking about dying or committing suicide.
READ: Dr. offers advice on how to prevent your loved ones from killing themselves
Cape Town-based psychiatrist Dr Scheepers gives the following guide to help someone who is feeling suicidal:
“If the suicidal person confides in you, listen carefully and tell them that you want to help them,” explains the expert.
“Offer them advice on who to turn to, emphasizing that professional help is both available and needed.”
Dr. P Mothapo, a clinical psychologist at Life Carstenview, says it’s important that you advise your teen to seek professional help.
“Providing support to suicidal people is critically important. Reaching out and exploring their emotional state would help instill hope, i.e. asking how they are feeling without judgement,” explains Dr Mothapo.
She adds that you need to remove all health risks.
“Make sure the person is in a safe place; remove potentially harmful objects and medications,” she says.
Finally, she adds that you should advise your child to seek professional help.
“As soon as possible, get professional help for the person (psychologist and social workers), i.e. accompany the person to health facilities (local clinic, health center or hospital) or call the hotline Depression and Anxiety helpline (0800 70 80 90).”
You can also call:
Lifeline South Africa
on (0861) 322 322. This is a 24-hour crisis intervention service.
Adcock Ingram Helpline for depression and anxiety on (0800) 70 80 90.
READ: Teen Suicide Prevention Week: Expert Advice on How to Help a Suicidal Teen
Image courtesy of iStock/ @Moore Media