Teenage suicide explained by Sadag

After the teenage suicide of Klara Gottert earlier this month, and many other teenage suicides occurring in this year alone, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has shared some warning signs which families and friends should look out for.

According to Sadag, there are warning signs for teen depression and suicide. Teens are naturally moody, distant and temperamental, but teen depression is more than just a bad day or a low mood.

One of Gottert’s comments on the day she committed suicide was ‘It is a pity I won’t be on this planet any longer.’

“A comment like this is a clear warning sign that a teen is in distress and is possibly thinking about suicide,” explained Meryl da Costa from Sadag.

The organisation believes it is important for teachers and parents to speak to the teen if they believe they are depressed. Ask them how they are feeling and if they are coping. Communication is very important. A simple gesture can go a long way in a teen who is feeling down, depressed or suicidal. Let them know by telling them that you are there for them, no matter what.

“Asking someone if they are suicidal will not plant the idea in them, but it shows that you care and that you are concerned about them and that you are validating their feelings. Once you have spoken to the teen, speak to a professional immediately. Even if this is speaking to a Sadag counsellor over the phone for further advice and information on what you should do next,” said Da Costa.

She further explained that teenagers are under a lot more pressure than in previous years. Many parents are now both working, parents are under extreme stress, teenagers are facing and dealing with issues such as peer pressure, bullying, financial difficulties at home, unemployment issues at home, substance abuse, domestic violence, trauma, violence and relationship problems.

“Many teens are not equipped to deal with these stressors and feel they don’t know how to cope or who to talk to. It is so important to let them know that there is help out there. There is support and there are people who are there who care and want to help. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” she said.

Details: www.sadag.org

Shanice Naidoo

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