This podcast discusses suicidal ideation and self-harm, and some people might find it troubling. If anything comes up for you while listening to this episode, please talk to someone. If you're in South Africa, you can phone Sadag on 0800 456 789.
- Roughly 8 000 people die by suicide in South Africa every year, according to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group.
- The NGO says about 20% of South Africans will experience a depressive disorder at least once in their lifetime.
- Psychiatrists say the number of teenagers suffering from anxiety and depression during the pandemic skyrocketed.
Depression is a treatable condition, but many teenagers are not getting the help they need.
Psychiatrists and psychologists said there had been "an avalanche" of people seeking help during the pandemic, resulting in months-long waiting lists.
Mental health professionals have seen an increase in anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
The SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) said depression could be triggered by a combination of factors, including genetic inheritance, external events, a chemical imbalance in the brain and substance abuse.
But, between 80% and 90% of people suffering from depression respond well to treatment.
Psychologist Mark de la Rey said teenagers were particularly hard hit during the pandemic as they were social beings, and extended months of isolation saw a rise in depression.
He has urged parents to look out for the warning signs of mental health disorders and seek help sooner rather than later.
In this two-part podcast, called Breaking Point, we will explore the symptoms of depression, anxiety and self-harm, and how parents can recognise when their teenager needs professional help.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental health issues, you can contact Sadag's 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 456 789.
Sadag has a WhatsApp counselling line that operates from 09:00 to 16:00. Call 076 882 2775.
Call the SA Federation for Mental Health on 011781 1852 or Lifeline South Africa on 0861 322 322.