World Suicide Prevention Day 2018: You are not alone

World Suicide Prevention Day 2018: You are not alone

You don’t have to “suffer in silence”, says actress Nomzamo Mbatha...

Woman sitting alone in bedroom
Woman alone in her bedroom Image credit: iStock/torwai

September 10 marks ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ – a day aimed at raising global awareness about how to curb the thousands of incidents reported each year.

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 800,000 people commit suicide around the world every year – many more have attempted to kill themselves. 

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado, USA, took his own life in August after he was bullied for admitting he was gay.

Here in KwaZulu-Natal, 17-year-old Chatsworth pupil Matthew Joash David hanged himself with his school tie.

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South African Anxiety and Depression Group (SADAG) says 9% of teenage deaths in South Africa are a result of suicide.

Sixty-percent of South Africans who commit suicide reportedly suffers from depression.

During an interview with our lifestyle team in July, Dr Scheepers, a psychiatrist based in Cape Town, warned that suicide rates are set to increase worldwide.

“Depression is the commonest cause of suicide, and with the incidence of depression rising globally suicide rates are predicted to increase,” he said.

Several local celebrities have used their own experiences with depression and attempted suicide in the past to help shine a light on the issues.

Here’s a look at what some of them had to say.

Trevor Noah

‘The Daily Show’ host opened up about his battle with depression while accepting his award for ‘Comedy Person of the Year’ at the 2017 Just For Laughs Awards. The 34-year-old told the audience that fellow comedian Jim Carrey helped him deal with his depression. “You can’t win at comedy. Every comedian knows: You’re going to have your good days, you’re going to have your bad days, but you don’t win. Winning is getting to the end without committing suicide. And Jim Carrey was one of the first comedians that described the beast that many of us face in this room and that’s depression,” he said. Trevor added that he didn’t even know that he was suffering from mental illness until he read about Jim’s battle with depression. “I didn’t know what that thing was. I just thought I liked sleeping for weeks on end sometimes, and then I read [Jim’s] story and I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, that’s what’s going on,’ and I thank you because, you know, I found a way to fight it. I found a way to build a community and that’s what this place is – it’s a community of people trying to do something.”

Nomzamo Mbatha

The actress lost her beloved cousin Carla to suicide in 2014. Since then she has made it her mission to create awareness about mental illness. Nomzamo received her BCom degree in accounting at the University of Cape Town earlier this year and used her graduation ceremony to make a powerful statement about mental health and suicide. “At the universities, there are many students who suffer from depression but don’t seek help because they don’t know where they can get help,” she told the Sunday Tribune. The 28-year-old wore a dress that featured SADAG’s toll-free helpline. “There are avenues like SADAG, so let’s use them and not suffer in silence. I have suffered from depression as well, I had a sister who took her life. It’s time that we deal with depression and anxiety. I’m asking everyone who suffers to seek help.”

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Thank you @vanessa_gounden @dorefashionsa for taking my crazy idea and executing it so well. . I wanted the pictures of my late baby sister, Carla, late older sister, Matu, my late father, Nicholas Nxumalo and the greatest love of my life, the woman who named me Nomzamo, my late grandmother, MamJoli. The many tragedies I had to survive. . The helpline to the South African Depression & Anxiety Group because MENTAL HEALTH and SUICIDE IS REAL,especially amongst university students. 0800 121314 . I dropped out of university for financial reasons amongst many other things and it took me more time to finish this degree than the peers I started with. I was gutted. Going back to finish off the race was not easy. So to those who are still in it I say... OWN PACE. OWN RACE ✊🏽 Have COURAGE. Have RESILIENCE. you WILL OVERCOME. #UCTGrad2018 #WearableART . 📷: @ramiie_g

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Jabulani ‘HHP’ Tsambo opened up about his suicide attempts during an interview with radio personality Gareth Cliff. The musician revealed he tried to commit suicide three times in 2015. He admitted that after two failed attempts, he decided to join an online suicide assist website to help him on his third attempt. But a voice in his head helped him change his mind. “This voice came to me and said, ‘Dude‚ if you really want to die‚ you need to live. If you really want to die‚ you need to do that s**t that you’ve always wanted to do and you’ve always been scared of doing’, and one of those is speaking my mind,” he told Cliff on CliffCentral. HHP also decided to delete Twitter at the time as he said it was a “toxic” environment. “Even if I say, ‘I feel like a peanut butter and jam sandwich’, someone will say, ‘Oh‚ so you hate Cassper‚ now?” HHP added.

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#FGTBB loading...

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Minnie Dlamini

The TV personality took to Instagram in April last year to share a picture of a depressing time in her life. “This picture reminds of such a sad time. I was miserable, depressed, and losing weight like it was carbon dioxide… I gave myself moments to cry and moments to fake happiness, until I was finally happy again… I honestly believe we go through s**t so we can fully appreciate the good,” she wrote.

Where to get help in SA:

If you are suffering from depression and/or are having thoughts of suicide you can speak to a SADAG counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday:

Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182

For a suicidal Emergency contact SADAG on 0800 567 567

24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14

Visit SADAGs website for facts about teenage suicide and how to recognise the danger signs.

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