JOHANNESBURG – Suicide awareness month, observed every September, aims to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide and to the resources available to prevent it. Salaamedia’s Nafeesa Dangor spoke to Shuhaida Adam, a counselor at Islamic Careline, about suicide.
“Many a time, it’s a person’s mental health condition that actually leads them to that [situation] where they stuck in this bubble and then, suddenly, something happens and something triggers them,” said Adam.
She explained that sudden loss is one of the sharpest triggers for many individuals. Amongst the triggers are study pressure and economic hardship.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 700 000 people die by suicide every year. This amounts to one person every 40 seconds. In South Africa, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) says there are 23 recorded suicides each day. Furthermore, 230 serious attempts are recorded.
Globally, suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds in 2019.
Adam warned that social isolation may turn out to be deadly for those who are suffering with mental health challenges and, as such, meaningful social interactions are important.
“We want people to reach out to their loved ones; meaningfully engage with them about their concerns [and] about where they are. Listen – be very non-judgmental and don’t debate about whether this person’s actions are right or wrong. Even if they’re talking about certain actions that they have done that they feel shame or remorse, be as non-judicial as possible,” she said.
WHO also recommends certain “key effective evidence-based interventions” to prevent suicide, including limiting access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications), fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents and identifying, assessing, managing and following up anyone who is affected by suicidal behaviours.
Find out more about how to prevent a suicide and where to get help at:
- The South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group
Helpline: 0800 21 22 23 (8am to 8pm)
Helpline: 0800 12 13 14 (8pm to 8am)
- Other South African suicide hotlines
- More about suicide prevention
- International Association for Suicide Prevention
Nafeesa Dangor spoke to Shuhaidah Adams from Islamic Careline. Listen to the full discussion here: