Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day. Prevention day? How are we planning on preventing it?
According to EWN, one person commits suicide every hour in South Africa alone, 14 per every 100 000 people…higher than any other African countries.
These numbers may not even be accurate as many families do not want to talk about or acknowledge that their loved one has committed suicide, due to the stigma attached.
People immediately jump to the conclusion that mental illness is the only reason why people end their lives, that they must have been so depressed that they just did not see a way out…that’s exactly what it was- a way out. There are so many pressures in the world, to look a certain way, to live a certain lifestyle and sometimes we get too carried away that we end up getting ourselves into ‘irreparable’ debt and feel like we are drowning in it and just need to escape…a way out.
Maybe something terrible about the person was about to surface and he or she did not want to live through the humiliation or shame that they thought would be the outcome.
It is not always a mental illness issue- it’s a societal illness issue.
As a society we are too quick to judge. We think that having a mental illness means you are crazy.
You feel an imbalance in your life, you seek help from a therapist or a counsellor and you get labelled a loony-cause.
On average, 23 South Africans successfully commit suicide daily while another 460 attempts to take their own lives. Chambers from SADAG says reaching out for help will lead to solutions and support.
Whether you feel trapped in the moment, or afraid of facing a consequence, or been thinking and even fantasising about ending you life, you must realise one thing- those emotions and situations are temporary. There is always a way out. It may not (and probably) will not seem that way at the time, but if there is one thing I can assure you of, that will get you through this season (because it is just a season) is FAITH. You may not see it, you may not know how it will change your situation but have faith that it can, and it will.
Take it from me, I went through a season of depression coupled with Generalised Anxiety Disorder that lasted many years. Of course, I didn’t know it was depression. I had lived with it for so long that I thought that it was just my new normal – Battling with myself on a daily basis, feeling trapped in a deep dark pit with loud screaming noises howling 23 hours a day- 1 hour for sleep.
I finally reached out to my husband and family. They didn’t say or do much. It came as a shock to them too. This affects the whole family, not just you. The fact that I had told someone, already lifted a weight off my shoulders. I no longer had to deal with it on my own. I still had to fix my own issues, do some introspection, get medical advice, focussed on my health and prayer, but knowing there were people out there who cares for you and loves you made it one hundred times easier.
You never know when you’re saving someone’s life…just by listening and saying: ‘It’s going to be alright’ and not being quick to judge.
If this article has raised issues for you or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call SADAG- South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s suicide crisis line on 0800 567 567.