Last updated on Sep 12th, 2018 at 09:25 am

Suicide and financially tough times may go hand-in-hand, but even the rich and famous have been known to suffer from mental illness…

The recent suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain rocked the world.

For many, it’s hard to imagine why people who have reached such high levels of creative and professional success would take their own lives.

It’s a reminder that achieving fame or fortune doesn’t instantly bring happiness and that depression does not discriminate.

We need to talk

Every day in South Africa, 23 people commit suicide and 460 attempted suicide.

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However, despite the high number of deaths, the publicity around celebrity suicides and what some people are calling the glamorisation of suicide by TV series like 13 Reason Why, as a society, we tend to shy away from talking about mental illness.

The stigma attached to mental illness makes it hard to admit when you’re struggling, or even know how to help someone who seems depressed.

But we need to talk because one in three people in South Africa will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives.

Are you listening?

We are fortunate to have the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), a non-profit organisation that offers telephonic and online support to anyone suffering from mental health issues.

From bullied teens, couples struggling through a divorce, to people taking strain after job losses or due to loneliness, SADAG counsellors are there to listen.

However, some depressed people won’t use these services but turn to people like you and me.

According to SADAG, 75% of people who commit suicide tell someone first.  This means we may have the opportunity to help prevent the suicide of a loved one if we are really listening to them and know what to watch out for.

One in three people in South Africa will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives

Free suicide prevention chat

SADAG often hosts free online chats and, in honour of World Suicide Awareness Day (10 September), they will be hosting a free online chat about suicide prevention on Friday, 14 September.

Mental health experts will be focusing on how to help a suicidal loved one, identifying warning signs and even on how to deal with the aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide.

The first chat takes place between 1pm – 2pm with clinical psychologist Lerato Msimanga and from 7pm – 8pm psychiatrist Dr Ingrid Williamson will be online to answer questions.

Click here to join the online chats if you would like to know what you can do to prevent suicides – after all, you never know when you might be called to save a life.

For more information, visit and free telephonic counselling, you can call SADAG on 0800 567 567, seven days a week from 8 am – 8 pm.


Feeling depressed, suicidal, hopeless?

CONTACT SADAG – The South African Depression and Anxiety Group

  • For counselling queries e-mail:
  • To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday, Call: 011 234 4837 / Fax number: 011 234 8182
  • For a suicidal emergency contact us on 0800 567 567
  • 24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.