Suicide hotline 'not for matrics seeking results'

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

A toll-free hotline set up for suicidal matriculants has been inundated with calls from matrics wanting to know their results.

Now counsellors fear that desperate pupils might not get the help they need.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Groups' (Sadag) Janine Shamos said yesterday that in addition to the line being jammed, it is also costing the charity R9 a call.

This is money the organisation can ill afford to spend. She called on the media to rectify the mistake immediately because this is preventing the organisation from doing its work.

The organisation provides free counselling and support for matriculants who are anxious and suicidal after receiving poor results. It is also available to anxious parents who hold high expectations of their children and who may have been disappointed, Shamos said earlier this week.

She told Sowetan that the line usually receives about 150 calls a day from matriculants suffering from poor results.

She did not have statistics for matriculants, but said that suicide is one if the leading causes of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

It is also the fastest growing cause of death, standing at 9percent of all teenage deaths.

But she said suicide is "very under-reported", especially in South Africa's rural areas.

"Anyone interested in preventing possible tragedy - including schools and religious groups - should give us a call to arrange programmes for the new year," said Shamos.

Sadag has counsellors on their toll-free crisis line at 0800-567-567 from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, or contact them via SMS on 31393.