“South African youth under threat. The youth of today is the future. But with Mental Illness on the increase amongst young people – not only in South Africa, but globally – that very future is under threat.
Suicide is increasingly being reported amongst younger people (World Health Organisation, 2002) owing to:
- Loss of social cohesion
- Breakdown of traditional family structure
- Growing economic instability
- Rising prevalence of depressive disorders
- School-related pressure
According to SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group):
- There are 23 completed suicides every day
- There are 230 attempted suicides every day
- 5% of all teen deaths are attributed to suicide
- The youngest suicide victim was 7 years old
As a nation, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the young people of this country are equipped to deal with the pressures of daily living.
During the month of July, which is nationally recognised as Psychiatric Disability Awareness Month, the South African Federation for Mental Health will focus on the importance of Mental Health – specifically in our youth.
Learners in high school across the country will receive trendy, user-friendly educational cards related to Mental Health and illness. They need to be aware of Mental Health issues, know of support options available, and recognise that having a Mental Illness can be managed through effective health care and support.”
Discrimination and the stigma attached to Mental Health is an on-going challenge. Parents will also be encouraged to talk openly to their children and spouses about Mental Health and well-being.
It is vital that we understand that Mental Illness is nothing to be ashamed of. There is always hope. The earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the better one’s chances of recovering and living a full and normal life.”