What to look out for?

Suicide is defined as the act of deliberately taking your own life. In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people aged 13 – 19 years.

The following may be warning signs for suicide in young people:

Talking about dying: any mention of dying or disappearing, or other types of self-harm

Suffering a recent loss: through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-esteem, hobbies or activities previously enjoyed

Change in personality: sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, and apathetic

Change in behaviour: inability to concentrate on school, work or routine tasks

Change in sleep patterns: sleeping too much or too little, or having frequent nightmares

Change in eating habits: eating too much or too little, weight gain or weight loss

Low self-esteem: feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred

No hope for the future: believing things will never get better, or that nothing will ever change

Risk factors for suicide in young people include:

Previous suicide attempt

History of mental disorder, including substance abuse (especially bipolar disorder and depression)

Access to methods or means of attempting suicide

History of childhood sexual or physical assault or violence

Family history of attempted or completed suicide

Family history of mental disorders

Opening up about mental health problems and/or suicidal feelings can be very difficult, and anyone who does so should always be treated with respect and kindness.

Young people who are suicidal need professional mental health treatment and support, not judgment or ridicule.

How to help someone who is suicidal

If you are suicidal and need help or are unsure how to help someone in need, contact one of the 24 hour crises lines below:

SADAG Suicide Crisis Line; 0800 567 567; SMS 31393
Lifeline National Counselling Line; 0861 322 322

For more information
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