A significant number of people contemplating suicide experience anxiety, depression, hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option. File photo: AP

For World Suicide Prevention Day (Sep 10), Sadag is releasing some alarming figures to help create awareness and offer insight into suicide in South Africa. 

Since January this year, the organisation has received over 145 000 calls to the 22 lines at the Helpline Call Centre, and of those calls, over 41 800 calls have been to the Suicide Helpline alone with people seeking crisis intervention and urgent help.

The recent passing’s of radiant young South African musician, Kathryn Swain, who died by suicide at the age of 25 and Ian Visser, a Grade 12 boy, who took his own life in Pretoria recently, as well as local singer Nichume Siwundla – are some of the recent suicides we have seen in the news. However, there are so many more people who die by suicide that don’t make the headlines.

Cassey Chambers, Sadag's Operations Directors says: “Suicide is still a very taboo topic in our current society - no one wants to talk about, no one knows how to talk about it, and parents don’t want to talk to their children about it, in case it 'plants ideas'. 

"However, suicide is a very real issue in South Africa and we can see that by the increasing number of calls we are receiving every day to the Suicide Helpline from people all over the country.”

A significant number of people contemplating suicide experience anxiety, depression, hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option. Talking about or threatening suicide may be a desperate cry for help. 

Sadag urges families, parents, loved ones and colleagues to take every suicide mention, threat or attempt seriously. “Over 75 percent of people who die by suicide tell someone first – it is so important to know the warning signs so you can identify when someone you care about needs urgent help," adds psychiatrist Dr Frans Korb.

“From the calls we have received to the Suicide Helplines over the last eight months, the main contributing factors for someone feeling suicidal include relationship issues, financial problems and trauma. But still, the main contributing factor is undiagnosed and untreated depression,” says Chambers.

For World Suicide Prevention Day this year, Sadag is aiming to reach more people and create awareness about suicide and depression. They have partnered with Facebook SA and BBDO Advertising agency to produce an online campaign speaking directly to someone who may be feeling suicidal. 

Visit Sadag’s website (www.sadag.org) or call the Suicide Helpline (0800 567 567) for more information.