If you feel hopeless, have suicidal thoughts, and/or unsure how to help someone in need, contact the
toll-free SADAG Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393
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:
Risk factors for suicide in young people include:
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
Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals if necessary, and encourage the young person to see a mental health professional. They will be able to do a proper medical assessment to see if there are any underlying mental health conditions that need treatment, and will advise on the best course of action
If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Remember that it may sometimes take time and persistence to find the medication or therapy that’s right for a particular person, so it is important not to get discouraged
Young people thinking about committing suicide often don’t believe they can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying, “Call me if you need anything” may be too vague. Don’t wait for the person to call you or even to call you back. Drop by, call again, and make sure that they are alright
This may include a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, and spending time with friends or family. Exercise is also very important because it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being
Help the young person develop a set of steps they promise to follow during a suicidal crisis. The safety plan should identify any potential triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, like the anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships or school. Also include contact numbers for the person’s doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help during an emergency
Remove pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If the young person is likely to take an overdose, keep medications locked away or give out only as they need them
Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the young person, by checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track and knows that they are supported and cared for