The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has advised parents to look out for warning signs of suicide in their children and get them help immediately.
SADAG said parents should notice a number of signs to find out if their children are going through depression and might commit suicide as the world commemorates World Suicide Prevention Day.
Operations Director at SADAG Cassey Chambers says teenagers are most at risk for suicide and even younger children are suicidal.
Chambers said, “The youngest suicide was six years old about two years ago, unfortunately it wasn’t his first attempt and it happened at school. That shows you how desperate, that even as a child, that may not understand the concept of death or suicide but is in so much pain and feels like ending their life is the only way to help them…
“Children might be saying things like I wanna go to sleep and never wake up or I wanna close my eyes and never open them again. I think it’s those kinds of things that parents should look out for,” said Chambers.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says suicide is a leading cause of premature death among young people around the world, making it a serious global public health problem.
The organisation said suicide is the second leading cause of unnatural death after road deaths among the 15 to 29 year olds. It is estimated that about 800 000 people die of suicide every year.
The WHO said for every person who commits suicide, about 20 more attempt suicide.
SADAG said they are seeing an alarming number of people who think of committing suicide.
“We are seeing in our call centre where – just since January over the last eight months we have received over 41 000 suicide calls where people are feeling completely helpless and hopeless and needing desperate help. One of the biggest causes for suicide in SA and the world is misdiagnosed or untreated depression, so for us it is really important to educate our people about the signs and symptoms of depression and getting help before it is too late,” said Chambers.
According to WHO, a suicide occurs every 40 seconds and an attempt is made every 3 seconds.
In South African, hanging is the most frequently employed method of suicide, followed by shooting, gasing and burning.
In South Africa men are said to be more likely to commit suicide then women.