Suicide a leading cause of teen death

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Teen Suicide Prevention Week started on Sunday and ends on February 25.

Research results released by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), claim that suicide is the biggest killer of youths aged between 10 and 19 after car accidents and murder.

Suicide accounts for 9percent of all teenage deaths.

Statistics also show that more than 5000 South Africans, many of them as young as 10 years old, will kill themselves before the end of this year if trends continue.

The research indicates that though more females attempt suicide, more males succeed.

This is because boys select a more violent manner for suicide than girls.

Girls are more likely to overdose on medication or take chemicals, whereas boys often find access to firearms or hang themselves.

Professor Lourens Schlebusch, of the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, one of the foremost world experts on suicide, estimates that every hour there is one suicide and 20 attempts in the country.

During Teen Suicide Prevention Week, Sadag will be holding Suicide Shouldn't be a Secret talks in schools throughout the country.

The talks are aimed at young people who might lack stable homes and role models and to whom finding work seems to be an almost unattainable dream.

Sadag says the main cause of suicide in young people is depression.

"Poverty levels, the number of youth not finding meaningful work, the escalation of drug abuse, the HIV-Aids pandemic, recreational sex and other worries add to the problems of the teen generation."