Cape Town - Hundreds of matriculants have contacted an anti-suicide support group and the number of calls is expected to increase once results have been released, said the manager of one such helpline on Monday.
Julia Zacharis said that at this time of year helplines received many calls from depressed and anxious matriculants. She said some felt there was no option other than suicide.
She said many matriculants did not have parental support and did not know where to get help. As a result, they called the hotline.
Zacharis said that often matric results were simply the last straw for teenagers.
"This is not the reason for suicide. The underlying illness is depression or other mental illnesses.
"But, because of the stigma attached to this, many people do not want to talk about it or even admit to it."
One misconception was that anti-depressants were addictive. This was not the case. They helped people concentrate and focus, she said.
According to her, school principals also called in, asking for the support group to visit their schools and to talk to children, to teachers dealing with depressed children and to concerned parents.
"In many instances, parents are dumbfounded when their children commit suicide, but they don't communicate with the children.
"In 75% of all teenage suicides, the child had said something about it prior to the deed," she said.
The helpline was for people considering suicide and for people seeking advice in preventing someone from committing suicide.
People were asked to use the line in an emergency only. The number is 0800 567 567.