Suicidal thoughts need healing

Durban - Between 6 000 and 8 000 people commit suicide in SA every year, making suicide the third greatest cause of unnatural death, according to Professor Lourens Schlebusch of KwaZulu-Natal, who is the author of the book Suicidal Behaviour in South Africa.

The SA Depression and Anxiety Group works with the likes of Schlebusch, compiling user-friendly documents that offer constructive advice on how to spot the signs of suicide or deal with the overwhelming feelings of depression.

Sandwiched between bosses who sometimes overlook them and junior staff who sometimes resent them, you could argue that they have the most stressful jobs in the modern world. Credit:

Think of life lived on a parabola. The image of a roller coaster may come to mind, one that goes up, up, up and then, inevitably, comes down.

We all have good days and bad days – that’s life. Things at work, school or in your relationship can be fabulous one minute and awful the next.

However, everyday sadness can be something else.

Perhaps you’ve experienced a loss or had a major life change, such as the death of someone you care about, a break-up of a relationship, or the divorce of your parents. If this unhappiness lasts day in and day out for more than two weeks and starts to interfere with your life, it might be something more serious, says Professor Lourens Schlebusch.

There is a difference between having a bad day and clinical depression.

According to the professor this occurs when you are depressed for most of the day, for about two weeks; you may have a markedly diminished interest in pleasure, experience weight loss, you may have no appetite or an increased appetite, you may have sleep disturbances almost every night, fatigue, feelings of inappropriate guilt, memory issues and feelings of worthlessness.

These feelings, experienced for too long, can translate into clinical depression.

The biochemistry is that this sadness can lead to the depletion of neurochemicals in the brain, making the person, already not getting good sleep, fatigued and more prone to illness.

The feelings that cause a person to think about suicide are caused by the person’s illness.

Some things you can do if you’re thinking about suicide:

If a person tells you they are thinking of suicide:

Who to call for help

Watch for warnings

According to Sadag about 75 percent of people who attempt suicide give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member. Here are some of the warning signs: