World Suicide Prevention Day observed

2017-09-22 06:00

SUNDAY September 10 marked World Suicide Prevention Day and psychologists say while it is sometimes difficult to tell when someone is contemplating suicide, support in the family environment is paramount in preventing it.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), 23 people commit suicide every 24 hours in South Africa and hundreds more attempt to.

A local criminal psychologist, who asked to remain anonymous, said from his experience many who are suicidal do not display any symptoms.

“Oftentimes suicidal people conceal their feelings and this is unfortunate because in psychology the first step to helping anyone is if they first admit they have a problem.”

He said people commit suicide for various reasons including abuse, spouse infidelity, divorce and financial problems.

“It is important that the family environment is always conducive enough for its members to feel as though they are able to share their feelings when faced with challenges.

“That way they can speak up and seek help before contemplating suicide.” He said suicidal people can show signs such as sudden withdrawal and sadness, a loss of interest in previous activities and/or constant anger and bitterness.

Sadag operations director Cassey Chambers encouraged everyone to “take a minute and change a life” for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, even though the day has passed.

“We’d like all South Africans to know they can make a difference in someone else’s life simply by taking­ a minute to check in with them.

“Encourage a person, who may be thinking of taking their life, to share what is going on inside them, and then truly listening with compassion and genuine concern can be incredibly helpful for those who have lost hope,” said Chambers.

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