Suicide among children on the rise in SA

Suicide among children between the ages of 10 and 14 has more than doubled in the past 15 years, says the World Suicide Prevention Organisation.

Kayla Phillips, clinical psychologist at the SA Depression and Anxiety Group, said contributors to suicide included bullying, academic pressure and loss of hope.

According to the group, 23 suicides were reported daily.

Recently, a grade 12 Reitumetse High School learner in Soshanguve committed suicide allegedly because of bullying.

Phillips added that 75 percent of people who committed suicide had shown certain suicidal indicators to family and friends.

“A person who is suicidal needs to know that you care,” she said.
“Listen to him or her. Ask questions and help him or her discuss their feelings.”

She said parents should look out for the following signs in their children:

– Talking about suicide: The person might threaten to take his or her life, say things such as “I wish I was dead” or a more subtle “nothing matters anymore”.

– Feeling depressed: He or she may feel hopeless, lose interest in work, have spells in which the person cried or lose interest in things the person previously enjoyed doing.

– Isolation: A person may begin to withdraw from family and friends.

– Showing a sudden lift in spirit: A sudden change in mood can mean that the person is thinking about suicide and he or she is relieved the problems will end soon.

– Preparing for death: For example, he or she might make unexpected life changes or give away personal possessions.

Showing changes in personality: The person might exhibit eating, sleeping or sexual changes .

Phillips advised residents to contact the suicide crisis helpline on 0800 567 567 if they felt suicidal or suspected someone might be.