My child wants to die


She seemed invincible. Bright, beautiful and talented, she had her whole life ahead of her. Until the day she sank so deep into a pit of depression she pleaded with her mom for permission to kill herself.

It was heart-breaking, Nicolene Smit* says. She’s never felt so helpless – and it wouldn’t be the first time Bridget* (20) would beg to be allowed to die.

“She talks about it almost every week,” says Nicolene (43), a Cape Town mom of three. “She asks God to let her die. It’s an ongoing battle.”

Bridget suffers from depression, an illness affecting an increasing number of young South Africans.

The Medical Research Council’s second South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, published in 2010, found about 24 per cent of high school kids experienced feelings of hopelessness and 20 per cent had considered suicide.

About 21 per cent had attempted suicide, which is a four per cent increase since the first survey in 2002.

*Not their real names.

Has you child been diagnosed with depression? We’d like to hear about your experience. Parents can send their stories to You may stay anonymous if you wish. Read more of Petro-Anne Vlok’s article in YOU 21 June 2012.

CLICK HERE or go to fo mental health information and resources to help you, a family member or loved one.

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