'We just don't understand' - Dad heartbroken after 12-year-old son commits suicide

2018-03-16 17:11
PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Supplied

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Teen suicide: recognise the warning signs

2014-02-17 16:59

Did you know that 9.5% of non-natural deaths in young people are due to suicide and 20.7% of teens have considered attempting suicide? Check out this infographic on teen suicide in South Africa to learn the warning signs and how you can help.VIEW

A father is devastated after Nathan Heldeberg (12) from Springs took his own life on Tuesday.

"It was terrible," says a family friend who does not want to be named. "But it seems he just did not have the strength to live anymore."

Nathan's father, Gerard, said he was devastated after the incident.

"He was a fantastic rugby player," Gerard told YOU. "He played school and club rugby.

"We didn't realise that there was something wrong. He was always smiling and greeted people politely.

"I constantly praised him – there were no signs. We just don't understand."

Gerard was at work at the time of the incident and it was Nathan's mother Eldie who discovered his body. She called neighbourhood watch and emergency services.

"I immediately drove out of Johannesburg to Springs," remembers Gerard.

"Nathan was taken to the hospital the same evening where doctors managed to resuscitate him, but he was already brain dead.

"He passed away on Wednesday night." Nathan's funeral will be held next Friday.

In South Africa, 9% all non-natural teen deaths are due to suicide – and this figure is on the rise. In the 15-24 age group, suicide is the second leading and fastest growing cause of death, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).

Children as young as 7 have committed suicide in South Africa and every day 22 people take their lives.

Sadag, which runs a suicide crisis helpline, is calling on all South Africans to help in educating others on the importance of mental health, including signs of mental illness and suicidal thoughts among teenagers.

For counselling queries e-mail: zane@sadag.org

To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday, call 011 234 4837. For a suicidal Emergency contact Sadag on 0800 567 567 and their 24hr Helpline on 0800 12 13 14.

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