Teena­ge sui­ci­de on the in­cre­a­se

George Herald - - MEDICAL SERVICES -

The in­cre­a­sed le­vels of trau­ma, a­bu­se and vi­o­len­ce ha­ve led ma­ny young people to seek se­cu­ri­ty in gang­s­te­rism, al­co­hol and il­le­gal sub­stan­ces, said Dr No­m­afrench M­bom­bo, MEC for He­alth in the Wes­tern Ca­pe, on Wor­ld Sui­ci­de P­re­ven­ti­on Day, Sun­day 10 Sep­tem­ber.

"They be­co­me re­clu­si­ve, dis­playing ag­gres­si­ve and reckless be­ha­vi­our, and show an in­cre­a­se in sui­ci­dal and self-harm ten­den­cies," said M­bom­bo.

Sin­ce 2015, the Wes­tern Ca­pe Men­tal He­alth Re­view Bo­ard, that con­si­ders and re­views all ad­mis­si­ons of men­tal he­alth ca­re u­sers, no­ted a sig­ni­fi­cant in­cre­a­se in ad­mis­si­on of mi­nors with sui­ci­dal be­ha­vi­our.

"In the past y­e­ar, 30% of the mi­nors who we­re ad­mit­ted un­der the Men­tal He­alth Ca­re Act we­re re­cor­ded as a se­ri­ous risk to them­sel­ves, due to self-harm be­ha­vi­ours, sui­ci­de at­tempts or sui­ci­dal thoug­hts and in­ten­ti­ons.

“The ot­her sig­ni­fi­cant cau­se of men­tal he­alth symp­toms a­mong a­do­les­cents is sub­stan­ce a­bu­se and use.

“This fre­quent­ly le­ads to self-harm and ot­her im­pul­si­ve, high-risk be­ha­vi­ours," said Dr Re­ne Nas­sen, he­ad of the Child and A­do­les­cent Men­tal He­alth Ser­vi­ce at Len­te­geur Hos­pi­tal.

Nas­sen ex­plains that psy­chi­a­tric and psy­cho­lo­gi­cal fac­tors such as the pre­sen­ce of men­tal il­l­nes­ses, de­pres­si­on, anx­ie­ty, d­rugs and al­co­hol may cau­se sui­ci­dal be­ha­vi­our a­mong a­do­les­cents.

"Ot­her fac­tors, such as ad­ver­se li­fe e­vents and dis­tress cau­sed by fa­mi­ly, phy­si­cal or sexu­al a­bu­se, as well as bul­lying, al­so may le­ad to sui­ci­dal be­ha­vi­our.

“Mo­re re­cent­ly, cy­ber-bul­lying has al­so been no­ted as a con­tri­bu­ting fac­tor," said Nas­sen.

M­bom­bo said that com­mu­ni­ties play a cri­ti­cal ro­le in sui­ci­de p­re­ven­ti­on. "Com­mu­ni­ties can pro­vi­de so­ci­al sup­port to vul­ne­ra­ble in­di­vi­du­als by eng­a­ging in fol­low-up ca­re, fig­hting stig­ma and sup­por­ting tho­se be­re­a­ved by sui­ci­de. Stig­ma at­ta­ched to men­tal dis­or­ders and sui­ci­de me­ans that ma­ny people may feel u­na­ble to seek help. Let us chan­ge this and en­coura­ge pu­blic di­a­lo­gue, as sui­ci­de can af­fect us all."

If you or so­meo­ne you know is ha­ving thoug­hts of sui­ci­de or dis­playing sui­ci­dal be­ha­vi­our, ple­a­se con­tact the South A­fri­can De­pres­si­on and Anx­ie­ty Group on 0800 12 13 14 (24-hour hel­pli­ne), 0800 567 567 (sui­ci­dal e­mer­gen­cies) or send an SMS to 31393 and so­meo­ne will call you back.

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