Teen suicide rate alarming

2019-02-20 06:01
PHOTO: sourced

PHOTO: sourced

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AS we approached the end of Teen Suicide Prevention week (February 11-18) the Maritzburg Fever uncovered some alarming facts and traits regarding suicide in teenagers and the behaviour that accompanies suicidal teens.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) states that nine percent of all teenage deaths are due to suicide and that only car accidents and homicide account for more deaths than suicide in youths in the age bracket of 15-24.

Zane Wilson, SADAG founder, said that depression and suicide were linked.

“Depression involves a long-lasting sad mood that doesn’t let up and a loss of pleasure in things you once enjoyed. It involves thoughts about death, negative thoughts about oneself, a sense of worthlessness.”

LifeLine Pietermaritzburg has in the lead up to Teen Suicide Prevention week released a series of Facebook posts to create awareness regarding teenage suicide and how parents can be alert to their children.

Below are some warning signs that teenagers can display when feeling suicidal which LifeLine released onto their Facebook page.

These are generalised and some may indicate depression more so than suicide, however, it is still important to be aware of these warning signs:

• Talking about suicide or death in general

• Giving hints that they might not be around anymore

• Talking about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty

• Pulling away from friends or family

• Writing songs, poems, or letters about death, separation and loss

• Starting to give away treasured possessions to siblings or friends

• Losing the desire to take part in favourite things or activities

• Having trouble concentrating or thinking clearly

• Experiencing changes in eating or sleeping habits

• Engaging in risk-taking behaviours

• Losing interest in school or sports (if they previously enjoyed these things)

Lifeline has also since released factors on things that can increase the risk of teen suicide which are important to be aware of:

- a psychological disorder (such as depression, bipolar and substance abuse)

- feelings of distress, irritability or agitation

- feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness

- a previous suicide attempt

- a family history of depression or suicide

- emotional, physical or sexual abuse

- lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation

- dealing with bisexuality or homosexuality in an unsupportive family or community or hostile school environment

With teen suicide becoming a more prevalent thing in South Africa it is important that parents regularly interact with their children, with LifeLine stating that hundreds of teen suicides are being attempted daily.

Various campaigns highlighting teen suicides took place throughout schools and on social networks during the week and SADAG’s Wilson has said that in order to raise more awareness about teen suicide, we would have to get organisations who have skills in talking to schools, class by class, about bullying, sadness or the loss of someone in their families, to come on board.


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