Know when to step in


Suicide is not a popular subject in polite society, but staying silent on the subject can actually do more harm than good.

As Sunday 10 September marked World Suicide Prevention Day, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) reported that in their experience, 80 per cent of people who attempt suicide will tell someone beforehand.

As such, Sadag has released a number of warning signs to watch for:

  • They have started talking or joking about suicide frequently, and seem particularly concerned about what happens in the afterlife
  • Symptoms of depression are manifest. Although it is a commonly held belief that depression is just sadness, in reality, depression can manifest in a number of symptoms including feelings of guilt and worthlessness, a change in sleeping and eating patterns and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities
  • History of previous suicide attempts. This is a big one, as most people who die by suicide have at least one previous attempt in their history
  • They are making contact with people they have not seen in some time (this could be an attempt to say goodbye, either directly or indirectly)
  • They have become preoccupied with books, movies, songs or poems that feature death
  • They have started to give precious or valuable possessions away as if to distribute remembrances to special people
  • Attempting to gain access to means, such as stockpiling prescription medication or attempting to purchase a gun
  • An increase in reckless behaviour, showing no regard for the danger in high-speed driving, drug overdosing, or being in the company of risk-taking people.

If you are worried about a loved one, or yourself, know that there is help available and that you are not alone.

Details:; Destiny Helpline for Youth and Students 0800 41 42 43; Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393; Sadag offices 011 234 4837; 0800 20 50 26 (to speak to a trained counsellor between 8am and 8pm).

Talk to us on WhatsApp 079 439 5345

Robyn Kirk

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