Did you know that 14 – 21 February is annual Teen Suicide Prevention Week in South Africa? I for sure didn’t.
Do these stats not scare the snot out of you?
No longer are our kids young and carefree without a care in the world, kids and teens in 2015 are carrying adult problems on kids shoulders.
- 1 in 5 youth attempts suicide
- Age 10-19 group are one of the highest risk groups for suicide (WHAT, age 10)
- 38.3% felt so hopeless they needed to see a doctor
- 29.1% had attempted suicide that needed medical treatment
- 9.5% of all non-natural teen deaths are due to suicide
- Less than 1% of Mental Hospital beds are allocated for children & adolescents
Keep an eye out for any signs:
These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behaviour is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Depression and unusual gift giving or giving away of possessions
- Writing or drawing pictures reflecting death (own)
- Running away from home
- Changes in eating habits
- Dramatic personality changes (aggression, violence, depression)
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
If you’re concerned about how to help a depressed child / teen, don’t be afraid to talk to him or her about the problem. It can help to reassure them that they are loved and that you are available to help work out any problems. Be a good listener, don’t judge, and don’t dismiss any of their concerns. It’s OK to directly ask if he or she has ever thought of killing him or herself. If you suspect your child / teen is suicidal, seek professional help immediately (Doctor, Religious Leader, Counsellor or Support Group).
Have you ever heard someone say two or more of the following?
- Life isn’t worth living
- My family and friends would be better off without me
- Next time I’ll take enough pills to do the job right
- Don’t worry, I won’t be around to deal with that
- You’ll be sorry when I’m gone
- There are also verbal hints that could indicate suicidal thoughts or plans. These include such phrases as: “I want you to know something, in case something happens to me” or “I won’t trouble you anymore.”
The SADAG: South African Depression & Anxiety Group designed the “Suicide Shouldn’t be a Secret” programme to serve one of the most vulnerable, yet difficult-to-reach groups in the community. This includes youth aged between 7 and 19 years of age, who may lack stable homes, role models and for whom obtaining employment appears to be an almost unreachable dream.
All threats of suicide should be taken seriously. If you are concerned about a child or yourself, please contact SADAG on 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393.
I have been fortunate enough to not have this hit home as closely, however, there’s been friends of ours that have experienced this first hand, no matter what the circumstance and situation 1 child (any child) is just 1 TOO MUCH!
This could be my child or your child being faced with this one day. Let us equip ourselves with the skills we need to assist them.
Lets remind these kids just how important, special, wonderful, beautiful, amazing, talented, creative, intelligent they are.
Information from SADAG’s website