Did you know that the third highest cause of teenage death (between ages 15 to 24) is suicide? Only homicide and car accidents rank higher! Current figures show that 9% of all SA teen deaths are suicide-related – so it’s time to sit up and pay attention.
Whether you see signs or not, young people between the ages of 15 to 24 remain vulnerable to suicide attempts. Here are some quick facts on this worrying issue.
Who is attempting suicide?
More teen girls attempt suicide, but more teen guys succeed. If that seems strange, the research explains that it comes down to method: guys choose more violent means, whereas the girls tend toward chemicals or medication.
Why are teens taking such extreme steps?
While there is a definite link between depression and suicide, young people in SA are facing ever-growing pressures that can seem impossible to handle:
- Lack of employment
- Intense pressure to excel at school/college/university
- Deepening poverty levels
- Escalating substance abuse
- The spread of HIV/AIDS
- Recreational sex
- Sexual abuse
- Feeling unsafe – bullying, crime, gang violence and unrest
What can I do about this?
- First, get to know some of the warning signs – you can find them here in Save a life: preventing suicide.
- Next, get your teens to put at least one, if not both, of these numbers on their phones, and explain that they can get anonymous help if they ever need to talk to someone:
- Suicide Crisis Line – 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393 (SADAG)
- Childline – 08000 55 555
Author: Joanne Hart for Hellodoctor.com