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Thu Apr 24 23:23:04 SAST 2014

Celebs talk about suicide

Feb 13, 2013 | Zoë Mahopo |   104 comments

TV PERSONALITY Sade Giliberti, who has fought depression for years, has encouraged teenagers to seek treatment if they have thoughts of suicide.

PROBLEMS: Hlubi Mboya at the Suicide Shouldn't be a Secret event. Photo: Sibusiso Msibi

The former So You Think You Can Dance presenter said her life went into a downward spiral when she was 22. She had tried several times to harm herself.

Giliberti told Sowetan ahead of her speech at Kliptown High School yesterday that she was winning her war against depression and that she had not made any attempts to take her own life in the past six years.

"My father worked away and I was left with my mother, who had a wild lifestyle. When I was 16 she just left. That's when life became difficult," she said.

Giliberti said she had since taken steps to seek psychiatric help and also relied heavily on the support of close friends.

Gilberti was part of the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) teenage suicide prevention week. She said she decided to get involved because "it is my responsibility as a public figure to help young people by sharing my experiences".

She said society needed to do more because young people were increasingly committing suicide.

Television actress Hlubi Mboya told the pupils: "I know being a teenager has a lot of ups and downs. It can be great one minute and horrible the next."

Mboya urged pupils to talk about their problems in order to avoid suicide.

Grade 12 pupil Jane Matle said: "Lots of children go through a lot of stress and we have a big drug problem in our community."

Sadag counsellors spent the day explaining that depression was a leading cause of suicide, with symptoms ranging from feelings of guilt, hopelessness, changes in eating and sleeping patterns to crying a lot.

Sadag research also revealed that 80% of the people who committed suicide had told someone about their problems before taking their life.

Some of the warning signs were identified as making jokes about death, giving away prized possessions and a drop in personal hygiene.

Counsellors encouraged young people to assist their peers by lending a supportive ear and reporting any suicide threats before it is too late. - zmahopo@sowetan.co.za

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