Click here to view PDF version
- How Do You Really Feel
- What To Do If You Suspect Someone Close To You May Be Contemplating Suicide
- Know The Danger Signs
- Be Willing To Listen
- In A Crisis
- Follow-Up Treatment
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
Risk factors for suicide among the young include the presence of mental illness- especially depression , conduct disorder, alcohol and drug abuse; previous suicide attempts ; and the availability of firearms in the home. In South Africa 60% of people who commit suicide are depressed
In South Africa the average suicide is 17.2 per 100 000 (8% of all deaths). This relates only to deaths reported by academic hospitals. The real figure is higher
“Suicide shouldn’t be a secret”
“We cannot measure the value of life cut short by suicide. We cannot calculate the impact a person might have had on the world around them or on the people whose lives they may have touched. But through a partnership between survivors, business and community leaders, scientists and dedicated individuals we can vanish this needless tragedy”
I feel guilty; I have no confidence ?
I feel I am a failure or have let my family down ?
I have lost interest in my hobbies. Most of the time I would rather be alone ?
I often feel restless or tired ?
I have trouble concentrating on things like homework or watching TV ?
I have trouble sleeping or I sleep
too much ?
My appetite has increased or decreased ?
I have unrealistic ideas about the great things that I am going to do ?
My thoughts race. I can’t slow my mind down ?
I often think about death. Thoughts about suicide pop into my mind ?
I like very dangerous activities ?
I use drugs and/or alcohol on a regular basis ?
If you have (or had) four or more of these feelings, and if they last longer than two weeks, you may have depression.
While some suicides may occur without any outward warning, most do not. The most effective way to prevent suicide is to learn to recognise the signs of someone at risk, take these signs seriously and know how to respond to them.
Previous suicide attempts: Between 20 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves have previously attempted suicide. Those who make serious suicide attempts are at much greater risk of actually taking their lives.
Talking about death or suicide: People who commit suicide often talk about it directly or indirectly. Be alert to such statements as, “My family would be better off without me”. Sometimes those contemplating suicide talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away.
Depression: Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often it is expressed instead as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that had once been enjoyable.
Be concerned about depressed persons if at least five of the following symptoms have been present nearly every day for at least two weeks:
- depressed mood
- change in sleeping patterns
- change in appetite or weight
- speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness
- fatigue or loss of energy
- feelings of worthlessness , self-reproach or guilt
- thoughts of death or suicide
Additional factors that point to an increased risk for suicide in depressed individuals are:
- Extreme anxiety, agitation or enraged behaviour
- Excessive drug and / or alcohol
use or abuse
- History of physical or emotional illness
- Feelings of hopelessness or desperation
TAKE THE SIGNS SERIOUSLY
- 75% of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member
- All suicide threats and attempts should be taken seriously.
- Take the initiative to ask what is troubling them
- If your friend or relative is depressed DON’T be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide
- Do NOT attempt to argue anyone out of suicide, rather let the person know that you care and understand that they are not alone, that suicidal feelings are temporary, that depression can be treated and that problems can be solved. AVOID the
temptation to say, “ You have so much to live for” or that “ suicide will hurt your family”.
- In an acute crisis , take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic – DO NOT leave the person alone until help is available
- Remove drugs , razors, scissors or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt away from the potentially suicidal person
- If the above options are unavailable call your local emergency numbers.
- Take an active role to ensure that the prescribed medication is taken and report any unexpected side effects to a doctor.
- Continue to offer support after treatment has been initiated