1 in 5 SA teens attempt suicide: Here are warning signs to look out for

By Drum Digital
18 February 2015

This week is Teen Suicide Prevention Week, and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. Have released some concerning statistics on suicide amongst teenagers.

* 1 in 5 youth attempt suicide

* Age 10 - 19 group are one of the highest risk groups for suicide

* 38.3% felt so hopeless they needed to see a doctor

* 29.1% had attempted suicide that needed medical treatment

* 9.5% of all non-natural teen deaths are due to suicide

* Less than 1% of Mental Hospital beds are allocated for children and adolescents

If you are concerned about your or another’s child, look out for these warning signs. These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behaviour is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.

* Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.

* Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

* Talking about being a burden to others.

* Sleeping too little or too much.

* Withdrawn or feeling isolated.

* Preoccupation with death.

* Loss of interest in things one cares about.

* Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.

* Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.

* Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

* I won't be in your way much longer

* I just can't deal with everything - life's too hard

* Nobody understands me - nobody feels the way I do

What you can say that helps:

* You are not alone in this. I'm here for you.

* I understand you have a real illness and that's what causes these thoughts and feelings.

* You may not believe it now, but the way you're feeling will change.

* I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.

* When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour, and minute - whatever you can manage.

* You are important to me. Your life is important to me.

All threats of suicide should be taken seriously. If you are concerned about a teen or yourself, please contact SADAG on 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393 or visit www.sadag.org

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