Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It can be prevented – learn to recognise the signs of someone who is at risk, take these signs seriously and know how to respond to them.
Do you suspect someone close to you may be contemplating suicide?
Here’s what you can do
1. Know the danger signs:
- Those who have made serious suicide attempts are at much greater risk of actually taking their lives.
- Be alert to statements such as, “The world would be better off without me”.
- Those contemplating suicide sometimes talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away.
Depression: most suicidal people are depressed
Although most depressed people are not suicidal, a depressed person could be at risk if they display at least five of the following symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks:
- change in sleeping patterns
- change in weight or appetite
- moving or speaking with unusual speed or slowness
- fatigue or energy loss
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- thoughts of death or suicide
- extreme anxiety, agitation or enraged behaviour
- excessive drug or alcohol use or abuse
- feelings of hopelessness or desperation
2. Be willing to listen
Did you know? 75% of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
All suicide threats and attempts should be taken seriously.
- Take the initiative to ask what is troubling someone
- If someone you’re close to is depressed, don’t be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide
- Do NOT attempt to argue anyone out of suicide
What to say:
- That you care and understand
- They are not alone
- Suicidal feelings are temporary
- Depression can be treated
- Problem can be solved
3. What to do in a crisis
- Take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic
- DO NOT leave the person alone until help is available
- Remove drugs. razors, scissors or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt away from the potentially suicidal person
- Call your local emergency numbers
What to do if YOU are thinking about suicide
- Tell someone right away – a friend/parent/teacher/someone you trust
- Make sure you are not alone
- Avoid alcohol or drugs
- Ask your family to lock knives, ropes, pills, and guns away
- Keep pictures of your favourite people with you
- Spend time with family and friends
To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday,
Call: 011 234 4837
For a suicidal Emergency contact on 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14
SMS 31393 (they will call you back)
Source: Information courtesy of The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag)