The SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has taken more than 75,000 calls since January from South Africans contemplating suicide and those who have tried to end their lives.
The world marks World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday.
Sadag, who runs a dedicated suicide crisis hotline, said calls came from “People who are really struggling, have serious suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and callers who have previously attempted suicide.
“There are still many more people who haven’t contacted you or who are too scared to speak to someone and don’t know where to find help”, said Cassey Chambers, the organization’s secretariat. Director.
“Suicide has always been a worrying topic in South Africa, with suicide rates high even before Covid-19, especially among men who die four times more often than women.
” Sadag has had a direct impact on the mental health of the population since the Covid-19 lockdown last year, with more and more people looking for help every day, especially teenagers, as they make up the majority of the callers who contact Sadag. ” / p>
“Before the Covid lockdown in 2020, we received around 600 calls a day.
” When the lock started, our call volume doubled overnight to 1,200 a day. “
Eighteen months later, Sadag is taking about 2,200 calls a day.
“That number excludes hundreds and thousands more emails, WhatsApps, social media and text messages from people who do that every day ask for help, “said Chambers.
The pandemic has increased the feeling of I Solation contributed to vulnerability, trauma, depression and anxiety in all ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Talking about suicide has often been viewed as a taboo and shameful topic, and many are too scared to talk about it. for fear that it might “plant the seeds” or that they would say the wrong thing.
Clinical psychologist Zamo Mbele said, “You don’t need to have all the answers. People often hesitate to intervene for many reasons, including fear or ignorance or wrongdoing.
“It’s important to remember, there is no specific formula. People in need who are thinking of suicide do not seek specific advice. They are looking for compassion, empathy and poor judgment. ”
The psychiatrist and psychologist Dr. Frans Korb said that over 75% of people who die from suicide tell someone first.
“It’s so important to know the warning signs so that you can tell when someone is at you Heart lies, needs help urgently. “
If you or someone you know is suicidal or is thinking of ending their life, speak to a psychologist or call the suicide line 0800 567 567, Cipla Helpline 0800 456 789, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or by SMS 31393.