· 5 Warning Signs To Look Out For:
The past month has seen the press filled with the tragic stories of family suicides. It is often easy, in our busy lives, not to notice the people around us who are suffering with the heavy burdens of financial and emotional pain. It is easy not to notice the people who are so desperate and feel so hopeless that the thought of death is more bearable than continuing with a life of pain.
South African families are in crisis. The extreme stress caused by financial strains, and the pressure of single-parent families is driving parents to take extreme measures. In the last week, there have been several reports of parents taking the lives of their children and then themselves. There are many theories surrounding the incidence of family murder-suicides however, the only thing that is certain is the shock and devastation that results.
All too often, people who are suffering from depression or extreme stress feel they have no-one to talk to, no-one who will understand them and as a result they further isolate themselves. This social isolation increases the stress and pain. Parents who feel that they cannot cope and have no-one to turn to, may see suicide as the only option. Social isolation increases the chance of them taking the lives of their children as they may feel there is no-one who will be there to care for them.
This is where the South African Depression and Anxiety Group plays a vital role.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), a partnership between the public, sufferers of mental health problems, their families and friends, business and the medical community, through increasing awareness about the risk factors for suicide, hopes to prevent this needless tragedy in communities throughout South Africa. For more information, telephone counselling - for both sufferers of mental illness and survivors of suicide, or if someone you know is under extreme stress, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group can be contacted, Mondays to Fridays, between 8am and 7pm, and on Saturdays, from 8am to 5pm, on (011) 783 - 1474/6.
Here are 5 possible Warning Signs to be aware of:
· Single-parents families with little or no support
· Recent divorce or death coupled with severe financial strain
· Unemployment or recent job loss
· Isolated family systems with little or no social interaction
· Dramatic shifts in behaviour of the caregiver to the family structure
Hopelessness, more than depression, predicts suicide. People who are suicidal don't want to die: they simply want to end their pain. When they see another way to end the pain, they take it. People kill themselves when they feel there is no alternate way. We think this sort of thing only happens to other people, until it is too late. There are no words to describe the feelings you experience when you learn about the suicide of a loved one. The initial reaction is usually one of total disbelief and then horror. Guilt and shame often follow.