This Teen Suicide Prevention Week, make sure that you know what the warning signs are – it could save your child’s life…

When teens talk about wanting to die, take it seriously – it’s not a silly phase.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-24 age group and is responsible for nine percent of all teen deaths.

“Our teens are depressed and often have no-one to turn to for support,” says SADAG founder Zane Wilson. “Combined with a lack of resources, family problems, poverty and loss, suicide all too often seems to be the only answer for these children.”

Combined with a lack of resources, family problems, poverty and loss, suicide all too often seems to be the only answer for these children

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

The warning signs

This Teen Suicide Prevention Week (11 – 18 February 2019), help raise awareness that saving a life starts with knowing what the warning signs are.

While the key contributing factor is undiagnosed and untreated depression, other suicide triggers for teens include relationship issues (whether with boyfriends/girlfriends, best friends, parents, etc.), family problems (divorce, separation, abuse, domestic violence), grief, loss of a loved one, bullying, trauma and illness.

Warning signs include the following:

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Running away from home
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Unnecessary risk-taking behaviour
  • Obsession with death and dying
  • Numerous physical complaints linked to emotional distress
  • Feelings of boredom, agitation, nervousness, sadness, loneliness or hopelessness

Study: Lack of sleep linked to anxiety and depression

Call for help

Supported by skilled counsellors, SADAG receives 600 calls every day from people who are depressed, lonely, have been raped, bullied, or are struggling with financial issues or the loss of a loved one. Their national toll-free suicide crisis helpline takes a huge number of calls from teens.

If you are worried about your teenage child or friend, contact a counsellor at SADAG 0800 567 567, 0800 21 22 23 and The 24hr Cipla Mental Health Helpline 0800 456 789 or visit

SADAG can provide free telephonic counselling, information and referrals to resources throughout South Africa.


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.