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Teen Suicide Prevention Week: Warning signs and how to identify them

19 February 2021 7:16 PM

Clinical psychologist Nkateko Ndala-Magoro and Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide founder Joy Chiang shed more light on the matter

Teen Suicide Prevention Week highlights awareness especially around teen depression. As the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened across the globe and increased stressors for many, the mental health of children and teens has been affected to a large extent.

According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.

This week on 702 we’re marking Teen Suicide Prevention Week with our partner South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).

Sadag is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group.

Aubrey Masango tackles the matter with clinical psychologist Nkateko Ndala-Magoro and Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide founder Joy Chiang.

The most important thing is that suicide is preventable. Most people will say: If somebody wants to kill themselves why don't you let them?' But research has shown that the more you delay a person acting to their suicidality, the more that they get help the more that they are obviously not successful to commit suicide.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

ALSO READ: [Teen Suicide: Let's normalise conversation about depression - Shudufhadzo Musida](http://Teen Suicide: Let) ALSO READ: Teen Suicide Prevention Week: It's very important to ask: 'How can I help you?'

The act of suicide is quite impulsive, that is why this kind of a week is very important because the message that we want to drive across is that it is preventable and help is out there.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

Some disorders can lead to high suicidal thoughts. For example, if you are severely depressed you run a higher risk of being suicidal than somebody who is not, not to say also that in the absence of pathology, in the absence of a mental disorder somebody cannot suicide.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

There is a high risk when somebody is already down, when they are feeling hopeless, when they are feeling helpless and that there is no future and there is nothing else that can help them in their desperate cry, that they will commit suicide rather than being randomly overwhelmed with life and you have been well functioning and surrounded by support.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

We get people across the board coming to us after they had lost someone to suicide. The family comes to the support group meetings. We analyse and go back and talk through that last month or so. A lot of the times they then realise that there were signs but because they were not aware of them they actually didn't pay attention.

Joy Chiang, Founder - Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide

We need to create awareness and make people understand there are warning signs and what to look for. The more we talk about suicide, the more we can help people prevent it because of the more knowledge they have.

Joy Chiang, Founder - Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide

What are the signs? What should we be aware of that will lead us to do something that may save specifically young ones' lives?

Psychologists would say if you see the same behaviour going on for more than two weeks then it is something that needs to be treated professionally.

Joy Chiang, Founder - Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide

Teenagers are going through a developmental stage during which they are looking for identity, social belonging. They either belong to groups or they are ostracised, now with social media it's even becoming worse. People are comparing themselves according to what they see knowing well that these are filters.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

We saw a spike in suicidality during the lockdown because of Covid-19. There were calls into the Sadag helpline and Lifeline because of some sense of loss of social interaction, loss through death of loved ones, loss through breakups, substances use, peer pressure and access to legal weapons and dangerous objects.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

Having access to something that exposes you to danger also heightens the risk of suicidality. Humiliation especially on social media where people really take on each other and people who are just impulsive in their own actions and behaviour.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

What I would also want to highlight is a family history of suicide as well.

Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, Clinical psychologist

Listen below for the full interview...




19 February 2021 7:16 PM

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