Suicide – it shouldn’t be a secret



Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

About 1 in 10 deaths in SA are suicide. It is scary, but if we know what to look for and what to do, we can prevent suicide. Suicide shouldn’t be secret.

People who are thinking about suicide, feel alone and isolated. They feel no understands how they feel. They feel they are a burden on their family or suicide is a way to get control back over their lives.

Suicide facts

1. People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope.
2. Always take talk about suicide seriously.
3. People who talk about wanting to die by suicide oftentimes kill themselves.
4. Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they just want to stop their pain.
5. Suicide can strike anyone.
6. People who attempt suicide and survive will oftentimes make additional attempts.
7. Telling them that they “just want something” or “are trying to manipulate” is both insensitive and ignorant.
8. People often talk about suicide before dying by suicide.
9. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Sometimes children younger than 10 years old die by suicide.
11. Oftentimes people who die by suicide are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
12. Untreated mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others) is the cause for the vast majority of suicides.
13. Some people die by suicide because of a depression that was caused by genetics.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

  • Talking or joking about suicide
  • Depression
  • Preparing for death
  • Self-criticism
  • Changes in personality
  • Loss of interest in appearance, drop in hygiene
  • Risk taking behaviour
  • Excessive feelings of guilt
  • Suddenly feeling better
  • Writing poems, essays about death, SMS’s or painting images of death.

What causes a person to commit suicide?

It is very rare that someone dies by suicide because of one cause. Thus, there are usually several causes, and not just one, for suicide.
Some of the negative life experiences that may cause depression, and some other causes for depression, include:

  • The death of a loved one.
  • A divorce, separation, or breakup of a relationship.
  • Losing custody of children, or feeling that a child custody decision is not fair.
  • A serious loss, such as a loss of a job, house, or money.
  • A serious or terminal illness.
  • A serious accident.
  • Chronic physical pain.
  • Intense emotional pain.
  • Loss of hope.
  • Being victimized (domestic violence, rape, assault, etc).
  • A loved one being victimized (child murder, child molestation, kidnapping, murder, rape, assault, etc.).
  • Physical, verbal or sexual abuse.
  • Unresolved abuse (of any kind) from the past.
  • Feeling “trapped” in a situation perceived as negative.
  • Feeling that things will never “get better.”
  • Feeling helpless.
  • Serious legal problems, such as criminal prosecution or incarceration.
  • Feeling “taken advantage of.”
  • Inability to deal with a perceived “humiliating” situation or perceived ”failure”.
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse.
  • A feeling of not being accepted by family, friends, or society.
  • A horrible disappointment.
  • Feeling like one has not lived up to his or her high expectations or those of another.
  • Bullying. (Adults, as well as children, can be bullied.)
  • Low self-esteem.



As a general rule, the level of danger suicidal people present to their own lives increases dramatically as they progress along the steps towards suicide. This is to say, people’s risk goes up as they move from


LEVEL 1:  thinking about suicide (e.g., suicidal ideation)

LEVEL 2:  planning their suicide

LEVEL 3:  collecting the necessary equipment

LEVEL 4:  actually trying to commit suicide.

The earlier in this progression they can be identified and helped, the better.

Get help

If you are having thoughts about suicide, please chat to the MOBIEG helpline: LIVE CHAT. Our chatline is safe, free and you may remain anonymous.

LIVE CHAT Helpline


Suicide crisis Toll free helpline: 0800 567 567 . Open 7 days a week from 08h00-20h00

SADAG National Toll free helpline: 0800 21 22 23.  Open 08h00-20h00 daily

Maybe a friend is showing signs of suicidal behaviour and you are missing the signs. You might be the person who is supposed to save that someones life. Learn the signs by doing a self-test Quiz.

Suicide Quiz                                                                                                      


How to help a person who is suicidal



If you have a friend who is showing signs of suicidal behaviour, don’t wait and hope it will get better or go away. Talk to the person about it. Talking helps in many ways. It allows you to get help for the person. Talking about it may help the person feel less alone and isolated. The person wants to know someone cares and understands. Talking may help them find a solution to the problem. It can be difficult to confront someone about this. Try:

” I’ve noticed that you’ve been talking a lot about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts about to hurting or killing yourself?”


Listen to the person without judging and offer reassurance that you are there and you care. Stay close and don’t leave the person alone.


Even if you’re sworn to secrecy and you feel like you’ll be betraying your friend if you tell, you should still seek help as soon as possible. It is always safest to get help. Suicide should not be a secret ever.

The following form can assist healthcare workers to determine the level of suicide risk:

Self help


Suicidal feelings and thoughts are part of depression. They are real and they won’t just go away. Depression is a real medical illness. You are not crazy if you are having these feelings and thoughts. No one will be ”disappointed” if you say how you feel when you suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Just like things can go wrong in your body, things can go wrong in your brain. You need medical help just like with any other illness.

Here are things you can do if you feel this way:

  • Tell someone right away. A parent, family member, friend or a National helpline.
  • Make sure you are not alone.
  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb what you are feeling.
  • Ask your family to lock away stuff that you can use to hurt you – guns, knives, ropes, pills.
  • Keep pictures of your favourite people with you.
  • Spend time with your family or friends. Even though you want to be alone –  with drawing and isolating yourself is not a good idea .

Book a Counselling Session

You can book counselling sessions with the following therapists:




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