Teen Suicide Prevention Week (14 – 21 February 2021)
Teen Suicide Prevention Week (14 – 21 February 2021) highlights awareness around teen depression and suicide, especially with the increased stressors of COVID-19 pandemic has worsened across the globe, so has the mental health of children and teens. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in 15 – 19 year olds (WHO, 2020).
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is focusing on creating awareness that teen depression and suicide is a particular high risk in South African teens as the mental health impact of COVID19 has been immense, especially as they navigate a new world of online learning or delayed learning, social isolation, loss, grief and trauma, with increased anxiety and depression.
Psychiatrist and SADAG Board Chairperson, Dr Frans Korb, says “There is a myth that depression or suicide doesn’t affect teens or children, in fact it is very real and affects more young people than we know, with teens being a particular high risk for suicide. Depression is the leading cause of suicide, it doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, race, religion or socio-economic background.”
SADAG has seen an increase in the number of calls to the Suicide Helpline, and we encourage parents, teachers and family members to know the warning signs of depression and suicide, and to reach out for help as soon as possible. Now more than ever, parents need to connect and engage with their children – ask questions, listen to understand, get to know what is happening in their teens lives and what they are feeling and thinking, and connect to help if you pick up any warning signs for depression or suicide before it is too late – it could save a life.
There is still a lot of stigma and fear around suicide, and many parents and teachers are afraid that if they talk about suicide to teens that it would cause them to take their life. SADAG’s Operations Director, Cassey Chambers explains, “Research shows that talking about suicide with a young person DOES NOT cause them to have thoughts of suicide or kill themselves. But NOT talking about it can lead to thoughts of suicide turning into actions. Talking about suicide and depression create an opportunity to discuss feelings and thoughts that might have otherwise remain hidden. Most teens who are thinking about suicide are actually honest and relieved when asked direct questions about their suicide thoughts or feelings.” But informing and empowering parents and teachers on how to have these conversations with teens is the first step to preventing teen suicide.
SADAG will be hosting 2 free online CONNECT Webinars for Teachers (24 February, 3:30pm) and Parents (25 February, 1pm) with experts to unpack how to identify warning signs of teen depression and suicide at home and in the classroom, self help tips to deal with depression, how to talk about suicide with a teen, developing a suicide safety plan, and how to connect to help. Visit www.sadag.org for more details about the free Connect Webinars and RSVP for your free seat today.
Miss SA will be using her Instagram platform to focus on Teen Suicide Prevention for #MindfulMondays on Monday the 15th February with GP, Radio Presenter, Social Media Influencer and SADAG Board Member, Dr Sindi van Zyl. SADAG will also be hosting an online #FacebookFriday expert Q&A on Friday the 19th February at 1pm-2pm and again at 7pm-8pm answering all your questions on teen depression, suicide prevention and how to get help LIVE on @TheSADAG.
“Even if you notice 1 warning sign, don’t wait or leave it. Talk today, listen and connect to help – it could save a life,” says SADAG’s, Cassey Chambers.
Working together to prevent Suicide
Please make use of this important online Suicide Prevention Tool Kit below to access helpful self-tips, how to identify warning signs, posters and ways to get help.
- Teen Suicide Prevention Brochure
- SADAG provides extra help and support for Teen Suicide Prevention Week (14 – 21 February 2021) - Click to view Newsletter
- Always be prepared, here are Three ways to assess for suicide risk
- Suicide Safety Plan - Learn how to create a Suicide Safety Plan and how to manage your mental health.
- Read more about common Myths of Suicide and how to debunk them.
- How to talk to someone that might be Suicidal.
- Signs of a troubled Teen
- Here is a useful poster to use for your class room, notice board or office.
- Watch some educating online video's on Suicide Prevention.
- Please see guidelines on Responsible Reporting when writing about Mental Health and Suicide. These guidelines are directly from from The American Association of Suicidology.
- Teachers Suicide Webinar Information Pack
- Teen Suicide Prevention Week Press Release
Please share this toolkit with friends, family, your community and even via social media - help us reach more people and prevent suicides.