Depression & Suicide

If you are having active thoughts of suicide, please contact you mental health or medical care provider immediately.  You can also phone the Suicide Crisis Line (South Africa) on 0800 567 567 or SMS 31393.  You can also get more information on SADAG’s website about suicide.

Depression is a very common mental health concern and according to the World Health Organisation it affects over 300 million people worldwide.

Some of the symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling depressed or down most of the time
  • A lost of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Significant changes in appetite or weight loss (when not dieting)
  • Sleeping much more than usual, or much less than usual
  • Feeling irritable or agitated
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Struggling to concentrate or indecisiveness
  • Thoughts death or suicide

Thoughts of suicide is often related to depression or significant life stress, such as the following:

  • A recent, significant loss
  • A major disappointment
  • Mental disorder or physical illness
  • Traumatic experiences

Contrary to what many people believe, suicidal people are not crazy or irrational.  Often suicides are carefully planned, although they can occasionally be impulsive (especially when alcohol, drugs or mental illness is involved).  Suicidal people do not necessarily want to die, but they feel like they cannot continue life with the pain they experience.

Talking directly and openly about suicide is important.  Do not be afraid that you will “put ideas into someone’s head” if you ask about suicide – people are not that easily influenced.  In fact, people with thoughts of suicide are most often relieved when someone cares enough to talk to them about their thoughts.  It is important.

 

Treatment for Depression (including thoughts of suicide)

The treatment of depression may include psychosocial counselling, antidepressant medication or a combination of counselling and antidepressant medication.  Medication is generally not considered a first line of treatment for mild depression, but should be considered for more several cases in combination with psychosocial therapy.

 

For some more information on depression and suicide in children and young people, click here.