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The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) aim for Teen Suicide Prevention Week is to educate friends, parents, family, loved ones, teachers and communities to #ACT to help prevent teen suicide. An 11 year old boy fights for his life in Reiger Park after a suicide attempt related to bullying, 16 year old pupil at a high school in the Vaal attempted to end her life after failing an exam and Grade 11 pupil from Vereeniging passed away after allegedly drinking poison. The most at-risk age group for suicide is adolescents and suicides are often covered in press stories which highlight the pressing need within this country to ensure that we continue sharing as much information on Teen Suicide Prevention as we possibly can. One teen suicide is one suicide too many.

One small ACT can make a difference and may save a life. #AskCareTreat (ACT) is a call-to-action to encourage early intervention when someone is experiencing difficulty navigating stress, depression or may be at risk of suicide. We want parents, teachers, friends and communities to recognize the risk factors and warning signs that may indicate a potential suicidal crisis, and empower everyone to know how to #ACT:

Ask - Ask directly: “are you experiencing suicidal thoughts?”, “have you ever thought of hurting yourself”, Have you ever felt like you don’t want to live anymore”?

Care - Listen without judgment. Show that you care.

Treat - Get your child, friend or teen immediate assistance. Escort him or her to the nearest adult, trusted teacher, or mental health professional (GP’s, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, Church Leader, Counsellor, etc.) for treatment. Alternatively call SADAG on 0800 567 567/0800 21 22 23 or sms 31393 for help.

“Teen suicides are real and rob many young people of a future and our society of a future. Let us speak about teen suicide today so that we may never have too again in the future,” says Clinical Psychologist and SADAG Board Member, Zamo Mbele.

SADAG is sharing the #ACT Teen Suicide Prevention Campaign around the country through various activities in the upcoming week:

  • Online Videos by Celebrity ambassadors, (e.g. Vin Deyzel, Nicole Da Silva, Roxy Burger) and experts (Dr Sindi Van Zyl, Zamo Mbele and Cassey Chambers) covering Suicide Prevention, supporting a loved one, symptoms of Depression and how to cope.
  • “Suicide Shouldn’t be a Secret” teacher and school workshops in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.
  • Online Expert #FacebookFriday chat on the 21st February at 1pm – 2pm and at 7pm – 8pm with Clinical Psychologist’s, Daniella
  • Matthews and Curwyn Mapaling focusing on the topic of Suicide Prevention and Teen Depression.
  • Online Toolkit for parents, teachers and friends on Teen Suicide Prevention on the homepage of the website (www.sadag.org).

If someone, your teen, or friend are feeling hopeless, alone or having recurring thoughts of Suicide or death, contact SADAG’s toll-free Suicide Helpline 0800 567 567 or 0800 21 22 23 providing free telephonic counselling, crisis intervention, information and referrals 7 days a week. Or sms 31393 and a counsellor will call back or visit www.sadag.org.

“Take every Suicide mention, threat & attempt seriously. People who have attempted Suicide before, if left untreated and unmanaged, are at greater risk of attempting or completing a Suicide,” says SADAG’s Director Cassey Chambers.

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