Suicide in university students likely tied to undiagnosed mental conditions

Mental health can affect anyone at any age. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but many cases will go undetected and untreated. They say, “In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.”

Local statistics

In South Africa, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) reports:

  • 31.5% of teen suicide attempts required medical treatment.
  • 17.6% of teens have considered attempting suicide.
  • One in four university students has been diagnosed with depression.
  • More than 20% of 18-year-olds have made one or more suicide attempts.
  • Male youth die by suicide more than female youth.

In 2018, there have been numerous reports of university students who committed suicide because they were unable to cope with the pressures they faced. SADAG says that university students may experience depression, stress and anxiety on a daily basis without realising they are suffering from a mental illness.

"Unfortunately this has led to many suicides, which we can't afford as a caring society. World Mental Health Day is important in spotlighting mental illness and promoting mental wellness for the student population, which is a growing vulnerable group," clinical psychologist and SADAG board member Zamo Mbele said in a press release.

“From the hundreds of calls that SADAG receives every day, children, teens and young adults are dealing with many problems they feel they can't handle,” says SADAG operations director Cassey Chambers. Main triggers include relationship problems, family issues, abuse, loss or grief and trauma, while other contributing factors include exam stress, substance abuse, bullying, learning difficulties, financial issues and chronic illness. “The youth are not equipped with enough coping skills or support structures to handle the kind of problems that they have to deal with every day.”

Here are four articles about mental illness in the youth you should read today: 

1. Instagram may lead to teen depression

A study found that while Instagram may lead to closer bonds with friends, it may also have adverse effects. 

instagram on smartphone

2. Three mental disorders that may affect your children

As the new term begins and children are heading off to school or university, it’s vital that you recognise the warning signs of mental disorders. 

happy child playing outdoors

3. Investigators found that exercise may lower depression risk in kids

Research has found that kids who get regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise were less likely to develop depression.

father and son playing basket ball

4. Five-year-olds at risk of suicide

Although it's rare for young children to die by suicide, adults need to realise that school-age children as young as five kill themselves, according to a startling new study.

young sad child at school

Image credit: iStock 

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