Suicide prevention: “Ask for help”, says SADAG

SUICIDE rates have increased under the Covid-19 pandemic, with male suicide particularly high.

This, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) who commented on suicide and mental distress following the tragic death of musician Riky Rick this week.

Although Riky Rick’s cause of death is unconfirmed, SADAG said it was a stark reminder of the mental health struggles experienced amid the Covid-19 pandemic and “what appear to be waves of endless suicide.

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“His passing, like his music, should be a powerful reminder of the important conversation about the scourge of suicide in our society. No one should be next, let’s talk and help,” said SADAG Board Vice-Chairman and Clinical Psychologist Zamo Mbele.

SADAG board member Nkini Phasha said suicide rates among men had increased.

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“’The recent suicides of men, in particular, tell us that we have a huge problem in our society. Suicide is a tragic consequence of untreated mental illness. We, as men, must learn to accept that we are human and that mental health is a real medical condition. It’s not a sign of weakness. We need to talk more and seek the professional help that is available. One life lost is too much,” Phasha said.

SADAG urged community members to seek help or step away from social media and news sites if they feel triggered by tragic news circulating online. SADAG also called on the community to avoid using the phrase ‘committed suicide’ but instead say ‘died by suicide’ as suicide is not a criminal act.

SADAG offers round-the-clock assistance to people in need. Call the suicide helpline on 0800 567 567, SADAG helplines 0800 456 789 / 0800 21 22 23 / 0800 70 80 90 or sms 31393. For more information, visit the SADAG website: www.sadag.org .

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