Take a minute, Change a life

Sunday Observer - - FEATURES -

We would like to thank ev­ery­one who made time to visit our stands at the re­cent­lyended In­ter­na­tional Trade Fair held at Mavuso Trade and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre.

We had busy but beau­ti­ful few days meet­ing our old cus­tomers, reg­is­ter­ing new ones and chat­ting to po­ten­tial ones.

Last Sun­day, 10 Septem­ber was World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day and this year’s theme was ‘Take a Minute, Change a Life.’ Many coun­tries com­mem­o­rated the day by rais­ing aware­ness the best way they could, with rel­e­vant or­gan­i­sa­tions post­ing mes­sages on so­cial me­dia or or­gan­is­ing walks and talks around the un­for­tu­nate sub­ject. The day is also very much sig­nif­i­cant to our coun­try where, in­creas­ingly, not a week passes with­out a few peo­ple tak­ing their own lives or at­tempt­ing to, or con­sid­er­ing self-harm as a way to solve their prob­lems. As a healthori­ented or­gan­i­sa­tion, and one that also deals with the af­ter­math of sui­cides, it is our hope that we all come to­gether to come up with a holis­tic way to pre­vent fur­ther un­nec­es­sary and pre­ventable loss of life.

The South African De­pres­sion and Anx­i­ety Group (SADAG) is re­spon­si­ble for rais­ing aware­ness about the warn­ing signs of sui­cide, pro­vid­ing free on­line Face­book chats with ex­perts, as well as pro­vid­ing those that have lost a loved one to sui­cide with a place to share, con­nect and get help. They have done a lot of re­search on sui­cide and men­tal health is­sues in gen­eral and they try to gen­er­ate as much con­ver­sa­tion as pos­si­ble about sui­cides and men­tal ill­nesses. These hap­pen to be taboo sub­ject, yet it is im­per­a­tive that we talk about them with­out ceas­ing if we are to be of as­sis­tance to those af­fected. The longer we hold off dis­cus­sions, the worse the reper­cus­sions on so­ci­ety. Sui­cides and men­tal ill­ness thrive on si­lence.

So­ci­ety needs to start un­der­stand­ing that men­tal ill­ness is a sick­ness just like bro­ken legs, di­a­betes, asthma, or any other. Hav­ing men­tal ill­ness does not make one a sec­ond-class cit­i­zen or wor­thy of dis­crim­i­na­tion. Men­tal ill­ness can be treated, and where it can­not be treated, it can be man­aged. When some­one breaks a leg, they need med­i­cal as­sis­tance to fix it; it is time for peo­ple to also un­der­stand and ac­cept that some­times peo­ple also get bro­ken in­side be­cause of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors or be­cause of ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion. When that hap­pens, they also need hu­man crutches for sup­port and need to get med­i­cal as­sis­tance to get what is bro­ken fixed. When men­tal ill­ness is not treated, or when prob­lems are not solved, it might lead to sui­cide or other loss of life in­sti-

gated by peo­ple with un­re­solved is­sues.

Ac­cord­ing to SADAG, 75 per cent of peo­ple who at­tempt sui­cide give some warn­ing of their in­ten­tions to a friend or fam­ily mem­ber. For that rea­son, we need to lis­ten closely to what oth­ers say and be there for them, point them in the right di­rec­tion to get help and not say things that drive them over the edge. Some­times peo­ple dis­tance them­selves from their loved ones’ prob­lems by say­ing, “pray about it,” or “ev­ery­one has their own prob­lems to deal with; deal with yours.” SADAG also said most sui­ci­dal peo­ple who called them did not ac­tu­ally want to die but just didn’t know how to elim­i­nate their problem. They, there­fore, en­cour­age peo­ple to not be afraid to say ‘are you okay?’ ‘I’m wor­ried about you’, or ask ‘are you think­ing of hurt­ing your­self?’ A sim­ple ques­tion might ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death.

Dups adds its voice in en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to take their eyes off What­sapp and other dis­trac­tions for a mo­ment, take a look around them, and be sup­port­ive to those among us hav­ing a re­ally hard time cop­ing with life’s prob­lems. Please give us a call on 2505 2028 to find out about Dups prod­ucts and ser­vices. You can also send queries to info@ dups­group. com, www. face­book.com/dups or on Twit­ter @dupsin­sur­ance or pay us a visit at our of­fices in Manzini, Matata, Mat­sapha, Simunye, Nh­langano, Mba­bane, Piggs Peak and Siteki.

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