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Stop suicide with these simple steps

September is dedicated to creating more awareness of suicide prevention – a sensitive topic that many avoid to talk about, but one that is very necessary.

Psychiatrist Dr Karien Botha from Paarl says the coronavirus pandemic has definitely worsened the mental health of people, as a result of isolation, financial implications, job loss, working from home and children in school.

In trying to prevent a loved one or yourself from committing suicide it is important to understand suicide and recognise the signs of someone who is at risk.

According to the website HelpGuide.org, “Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death.”

Considering that there are also many misconceptions around suicide, it should not be ignored when someone jokingly says that they do not want to live anymore or that they wish they can die.

Other signs of people who might be contemplating to take their own life include:. Talking a lot about death and harming themselves.. Feeling that there is no hope for the future.. Isolating from others.. Having a sudden sense of calmness.. Having suicidal thoughts.

Botha suggests that “the stigma surrounding depression and other psychiatric disorders causes people to be too scared to talk about their emotions and negative thoughts and also feel ashamed to seek help.

“The sad truth is that this often results in people suppressing their emotions for years, and later feeling that their only escape is by taking their own life – but it doesn’t have to end that way.

There is help if you are suffering with a mental health condition, such as depression and anxiety, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

“Medication plays an important role in the treatment of depression,” Botha added. “One should address psychosocial stressors and learn life skills such as conflict management, setting boundaries and good communication skills.”

The support services of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) is readily available to provide help and refer people to the necessary services. For more information contact the Sadag Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837 or the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

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