Parents, you know your child better than anybody else. If you think they are acting out of the character, trust your instincts. Investigate. According to SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) 9% of all teen deaths are caused by suicide.
It is also recorded by WHO that suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds. To continue with their awareness campaign, SADAG will be hosting free webinars for teachers and parents to educate them on the signs of depression – and how to deal with it.
The organisation feels this is even more important now with the added stressors of the pandemic. VK News reported on concerns of the mental health crises among children and teens in the UK last month.
“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.
What are the signs to look out for?
Loss of Interest in the things they used to do. If you notice your child is displeased with the things they used to enjoy before, start taking note of this.
Eternal sadness that will won’t dissipate. Feeling sad is normal, but if it continues for long periods it could be a sign of depression.
Irrational anger and irritability. It’s not unusual for teenagers to be emotional at times, but prolonged spells of irrational anger and irritability might be a sign that something is amiss.
Crying a lot, feeling hopeless. Feeling sad and hopeless makes us cry, but if this is an ongoing situation this might be an indication that the child does not cope well.
Sleep disturbance, sleeping too much or too little. When they do not sleep, they weaken their immune system and will pick up weight. Adding to their distress.
Eating disturbance. A change in appetite is always a clear sign that there is something wrong.
Not able to concentrate and bunking school. Not showing an interest in school work or sports because they struggle to concentrate is common. It would be a great idea to speak to their teachers or sports coaches to get some help.
Being tense and worrying a lot. Worrying about what people think about them and being anxious about everything makes them paranoid. They tend to develop a low self esteem and lack confidence in their abilities.
Spend time alone. They think that they are alone and nobody understands or cares, so they isolate themselves. This is a protection mechanism on their part.
Some Useful numbers:
Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SADAG Mental Health Line
011 234 4837
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90