Understanding suicide: "Depression is a sickness just like cancer"

Since qualifying as a psychologist in 2010, Jeremy Bayer, counselling psychologist, has heard clients in private practice speak of intentions to commit suicide on a regular basis.

Bayer tells host Eusebius McKasier, that the most common theme that underlies a desire to commit suicide, is a feeling of being trapped. Trapped by fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, trauma, pain, and numerous other potentially debilitating feelings.

It is a topic that is unfortunately becoming more prevalent. Up to 8000 South Africans commit suicide annually. It is getting worse and the numbers are high among teenagers.

Jeremy Bayer, Counselling Psychologist

Bayer adds that depression is on the increase and is found to be the second most common disease according to World Health Organization (WHO). Bayer explains that an unequal society is often a precursor to depression, anxiety which may ultimately lead to suicide.

Losing a job, the death of a partner, divorce, terminal illness, a history of sexual abuse are just some of the causes of depression that may feed into suicidal thoughts cited by Bayer.

Read: Technobyte: Facebook tool to help prevent suicide

Depression is a sickness just like cancer.

Victor, caller

For the past couple of months, the thought that comes to mind everyday, is to end my life. It's there constantly.

Nthabiseng, caller

Bayer says that according to stats, male suicide is far higher in South Africa. Bayer cautions against hyper and toxic masculinity amongst men and advises discussing and seeking help should one feel or exhibit symptoms of depression and any other mental illness.

If you or anyone you know suffers from depression you can contact LifeLine or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).

LifeLine: 011 728 1331

SADAG: 011 234 4837

Listen to the clip for more on the discussion on suicide:


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