surrounding mental illness and suicide prevention is what discourages people
from discussing these topics openly, often discouraging people from seeking the
help they need.
While it was
a normal part of life for people to go through tough times – deaths,
unemployment, abusive relationships or loneliness – these down times could lead
to them attempting suicide if they felt unable to find a way forward.
People need to seek help
the points made earlier this month when the John Toalo Gaetswer Civil Society
Forum partnered with the Uniting Reformed Church to mark the 15th
World Suicide Prevention Day under the theme "The World Needs You Here".
The day is a
commemoration to those who died prematurely through suicide – with the World
Health Organisation estimating that 800 000 people commit suicide each year, or
one person every second.
health co-ordinator Esi Molete from the Department of health in the district
said it was important for people in trouble to seek help to try and address
their mental state.
important also to know the warning signs. Some people start talking about
suicide often, while others work on a suicide plan and start making
preparations for what should happen if they die,” she said.
Senatle, a nurse from Denosa (Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa) and
a member of hosting church, Uniting Reformed Church, said the stigmatising of
mental illness was harmful.
has a role to play. Pastors, clergymen and reverends are there in the church to
listen to the congregations' social ills,” said Molete, explaining how all
kinds of people could be of help and that people were most likely to commit
suicide when they were in a dark place and felt they had no support and that
teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 generally faced school stress because
of exams and heavy pressure to pass from parents and society in general.
some felt they could not talk to anyone about their relationships and dating,
leading them to behave emotionally and make bad decisions.
highlighted substance abuse as a contributing factor and urged parents to support
their children and listen to their problems and guide further.
Molehabangwe , one of the guests at the service, said she was happy to be part
of an initiative that was addressing real life issues.
Destigmatising suicidal thoughts
“I think it
is important for the church to sometimes put the Bible aside and open a
platform for us to talk about social
life challenges that we face as young people in the world at large,” said
Mooketsi, a guest participant, said the issue of language was also important in
the field of counselling.
are discouraged to see the psychologist because of the language barriers. Mental
health issues are very personal, and people need to be able to express
themselves in their own language. Having a Tswana speaking psychologist can also destigmatise suicidal
thoughts,” she said.
The Civil Society
Forum committed themselves to visiting churches to and raising awareness on
suicide prevention for the entire month of September. – Health-e News.
Image credit: iStock