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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.

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BY TRACY-LEIGH KINSEY what, It All GETS TOO MUCH! OPENING UP ABOUT SUICIDE Last week I was lucky enough to meet an amazing young guy who left a lasting impression on me. He was goodlooking, had a great big smile on his face and was deep r, in conversation. A little later on I was introduced to him and he shared his moving story with me. Daryl, it turns out, is the survivor of an attempted suicide. He is in his early 20s. About a year ago the world seemed to get on top of him and he decided to take his own life. Daryl says that his problems started when he was a young boy in primary school. He was teased and bullied mercilessly by a bunch of kids who called him gay. "I didn't even know what that meant at the time," he says. The bullying continued relentlessly and Daryl tried hard to just ignore it and pretend like it wasn't happening. When Daryl was in high school, his folks went through a tough time and things at home got a bit rocky. Daryl felt sad, lonely and desperate, and sometime in his early teens he started to have thoughts about killing himself. He didn't speak to anybody about his suicidal thoughts because he didn't think anybody would take him seriously. Over many years Daryl tried really hard to 'pull himself together'. He did everything in his power to make himself feel better — he studied really hard, did well at school, went to church, prayed, went to university and got a great degree, but nothing helped his feelings of desperation. What Daryl didn't realise at the time was that he was suffering from severe undiagnosed depression. Eventually, as a last attempt to 'fix' himself, he moved to London to find a job. In London, Daryl's mood didn't improve and after a relationship breakup and difficulties with finding a job, he decided that there was nothing left to do but end his life. He planned everything to a tee. He told his friends in London that he was moving back to South Africa, sold all of his belongings, had a farewell party and deactivated his Facebook account. He sent his mom and dad a suicide note via email on a Sunday night so that by the time they found it on Monday morning he would be gone. He even wrote a note with his parents' contact details on it and put it into his pocket so that the police would know how to contact his family. Daryl then set off to the London Underground and waited on the platform for the next train to arrive. It was his plan to step off the platform in front of the train. "At the time," Daryl says, "I felt unemotional about what I was doing and even played sudoku on my phone while I was waiting. As the next train pulled into the station I simply strolled off the platform." That one step would change Daryl 's life forever. MEZONE THE MORE PEOPLE SPEAK OUT ABOUTTHE FACTS, STATISTICS AND STORIES OF SUICIDE, THE MORE PEOPLE WILL REALISE THEY ARE NOT ALONE. THERE IS HELP ANDTHERE IS AWAY OUT 4. What Daryl couldn't have known at the time was that, miraculously, his life would be saved — both on a physical and mental level. Daryl somehow survived his suicide attempt, although tragically he lost both his legs and today is confined to a wheelchair. In the days after the accident, Daryl was diagnosed with clinical depression and was finally able to receive treatment that has helped him to live a normal life at last. The saddest thing about Daryl's story is that if his depression had been picked up earlier, he may have been able to avoid what felt like a lifetime of pain and suffering. SPEAKING OUT ABOUT SUICIDE Suicide is a topic that people don't really want to think or talk about. If we have thoughts of suicide we bottle them up inside and try to hide them from the rest of the world. The truth is that many, many of us have thoughts about suicide at some point in our lives. It doesn't make us crazy or cuckoo. Just like sometimes things go wrong in our bodies and we get physically sick, sometimes things also happen in our brains causing illnesses such as depression and anxiety, which if left untreated can eventually lead to suicidal thoughts. People think of ending their lives when they feel they have more pain than they can cope with and they feel completely alone. That's the main reason why Daryl has agreed to share his story. "The more people speak out about the facts, statistics and stories of suicide, the more people will realise they are not alone. There is help and there is a way out," says Daryl. "More than 80% of people who suffer from depression do get better with treatment." WHAT TO DO WHEN THE PAIN IS HEJELVIINIT In South Africa, 21% of teens have contemplated suicide, and 17% of teens have actually made a plan to commit suicide. With the increased stresses of life, teen suicide is a major problem which is slowly on the rise. If you are one of the many teens who feel like it's all just too much to deal with, here are a few tips to help you overcome those feelings of desperation: 1Tell someone One of the best ways to deal with suicidal feelings is to tell somebody how you're feeling. When you share your fears and worries with other people you'll be able to see that you're not alone. There are people who love and care about you and who will do anything to help you feel better. If you don't think you can talk about your feelings, write them a letter and sit with the person while they read the letter. Get professional help Depression and suicidal thoughts are not just feelings that will go away by themselves. They are medical conditions that need to be treated by a professional. Speak to a doctor or a counsellor. Phone SADAG on 0800 12 13 14 to speak to a counsellor trained in matters relating to teen suicide. 3Don't shut yourself off Even if you don't feel like it, make an effort to get out and do the things you used to enjoy. Spend time with your friends, play sports or go to the movies. Being alone and doing nothing will just make you feel worse. Get out into the sunshine, go for a nice long walk or spend some time in nature. 4Keep healthy Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Exercise often. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which make us feel happy. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. 5Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs You may think that alcohol or drugs will help you feel better, but it has been scientifically proven that they make depression far worse and are often even the cause of depression. They also lower our inhibitions and cause us to do things that we wouldn't otherwise do. 6Avoid things that make you feel sad Don't close yourself up in your room and listen to sad music, read old letters or look at old photos that make you feel worse. Surround yourself with things that you love and make you feel better. With ongoing treatment Daryl is leading a full, happy life today. He is back in South Africa, has a good job and shares his story with people all over the country, raising awareness of depression and suicide. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Even if it seems like there is no way to fix the problems you are facing, try to remember that there is almost always a solution. Maybe you just can't see it right now. Circumstances change, solutions appear, hurts heal and unexpected positive events happen. In Daryl's wise words: "Be your own hero. You are a custom-built package of gifts and talents. No one else can be everything you are and that is a good thing. So when it feels like nobody is on your side, know that you are worth fighting for and be willing to stand in your own corner." Look for the warning signs of depression, get help if you need it and remember you are not alone. There is always another way. HELP IS AT HAND SADAG HELPLINE (8AM TO 8PM): 0800 33 33 77 I 24-HOUR HELPLINE: 0800 12 13 14 I SMS: 31393 (THEY WILL CALLYOU BACK) I WEBSITE: WWW.SADAG.ORG SOUTH AFRICAN STATISTICS 21% of teens have considered suicide. 17% of teens have made a plan to commit suicide. Girls attempt suicide three times more than guys. Guys are three times more successful than girls at committing suicide. Teens aged 15 to 19 are most at risk. One in 10 teen deaths is the result of suicide. 60% of teens with mental disorders do not get treatment. WARNING SIGNS OF DEPRESSION Changes in sleeping patterns — either sleeping too much or too little. Changes in eating patterns — either eating too much or too little. Loss of interest in things that used to be fun, for example friends, school, sport and socialising. Problems with concentration and focus which affects schoolwork. Sadness that won't go away. Ongoing feelings of irritability and anger. Lots of crying. Intense feelings of worry. Thinking a lot about death and dying. WHAT CAUSES SUICIDE? Depression Relationship problems Family issues Violence and abuse Bullying Drug and alcohol abuse Loss (for example from a death, breakup or loss of status) WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOUR FRIEND IS CONSIDERING SUICIDE Get your friend to talk: Ask her if she is considering harming herself. This will give her the opportunity to open up. Listen: She doesn't expect you to have solutions. She just needs a shoulder to cry on. Stand by her: Depression can make people do strange things. Stand by your friend even if she says or does hurtful things. Encourage her to get help: Give her SADAG's contact numbers and offer to stay with her while she calls for help. Tell somebody: Don't keep her suicidal feelings secret. Tell somebody who can help even if she has asked you not to. She needs professional help and you also need help to handle the situation. *Source: SADAG TRACY-LEIGH KINSEY OF STARCHILD COACHING IS A TEEN LIFE COACH AND SELF-ESTEEM ELEVATOR WHO CONDUCTS WORKSHOPS, TALKS AND ONE-ON-ONE COACHING FOR SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGHOUTTHE COUNTRY. TRACY CAN BE REACHED This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. OR ON 083 209 0768.

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