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Cape Town - With youngsters across the country having received their exam results and children going to school, parents, guardians and educators have been urged to take suicide signs and threats seriously.

“Young people with an underlying mental illness may experience depression in the time leading up to exams, and also if they achieved lower than expected results that may make them feel they have let themselves and others down,” said occupational therapist Tegan Rix.

“This depression, often accompanied by social isolation and loneliness, can lead to suicide.”

Research says the main reported causes of depression and suicidal ideation are due to difficulty with meeting expectations of university and studies. Loneliness, relationship difficulties and strained relationships with parents are also believed to be major factors.

In the 15-24 age group, suicide is the fastest growing cause of death and 9% of all teen deaths are due to suicide. Every day, a total of 22 people commit suicide. According to research, 75% of people who have committed or attempted suicide have given some warning.

“Many young people are highly motivated to avoid failing – not because they cannot manage emotional reactions such as disappointment and frustration – but because failing makes them feel a deep sense of shame,” said Rix.

If someone you know are showing the following signs, seek help immediately:

·         feelings of hopelessness or having no hope for the future

·         increase in substance use

·         isolation and  loneliness

·         irritability and aggression

·         negative view of the self and their abilities

·         expressing death through writing, talking or drawing

·         self-harming behaviours such as cutting

·         giving personal belongings of value away to others

·         expressing the feeling of being a burden to others