Friday, September 10, 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day

Men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women. This was revealed by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)

Friday is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year’s theme is “Creating Hope Through Action.”

The theme emphasises that suicide should not be treated as a taboo subject.

‘’Talking about suicide has often been viewed as a very taboo and shameful topic, with many too scared to talk about Suicide in the fear that it may “plant the seed” or that they would say the wrong thing,’’ says Zamo Mbele, Clinical Psychologist and SADAG Board Member.

“You don’t need to have all the answers. People are often reluctant to intervene, for many reasons including fear or not knowing what to say or saying the wrong thing. It is important to remember, there is no specific formula. People in distress, who are thinking about suicide are not looking for specific advice. They are looking for compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement,” she added.

SADAG says it has received over 75 000 suicide calls since January 2021 from people who are really struggling, having serious suicidal thoughts, behaviours, and callers who have previously attempted suicide.

“There are still many more people who haven’t reached out, or who are too scared to talk to someone, and don’t know where to go for help,” said Cassey Chambers, SADAG operations director.

Chambers says the majority of callers are in their youth, adding that the pandemic has contributed to socio-economic and mental issues on citizens.

“Before COVID lockdown in 2020, we were receiving about 600 calls per day. At the beginning of lockdown our call volumes doubled overnight to 1200 per day. Now 18 months later, we are fielding over 2 200 calls per day. And this figure excludes the hundreds, and thousands more, emails, whatsapp’s, social media and sms messages from people reaching out for help each day.’’

‘’The COVID19 pandemic has contributed to increased feelings of isolation, vulnerability, trauma, depression and anxiety amongst all age groups, races, genders and socio-economic backgrounds – suicide does not discriminate,’’ Chambers added.




Things to look out for, regarding suicidal thoughts

1. Learning the warning signs of suicide and symptoms of depression

2. Changing the way we talk about or refer to mental health and Suicide in our day-to-day conversations

3. Take the time to reach out to someone who is not coping – checking in, asking directly if they are feeling suicidal or asking how they are really doing, knowing what to do or who to speak to for help for someone who may be feeling suicidal could change the course of their life and open an important conversation.

4. Creating awareness – change starts with us. Sharing resources and helpful information on mental health and suicide can help educate others, normalise conversations around difficult topics and link people to treatment and support


 Psychiatrist and Psychologist, Dr Frans Korb, says “Over 75% of people who die by suicide tell someone first – it is so important to know the warning signs so you can identify when someone you care about needs urgent help.”

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or thinking about ending their life, please urgently speak to a mental health professional (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Social Worker, GP or Counsellor), or contact the Suicide Helpline 0800 567 567, Cipla Helpline 0800 456 789, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or sms 31393.


Done By: Mitchum George

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