'Depression doesn't have to be a death sentence' - Panel opens up about suicide

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Qama Qukula

44 days ago
'Depression doesn't have to be a death sentence' - Panel opens up about suicide

  • An estimated 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year

  • It's the second most common cause of death in people aged 15 to 29

  • A panel of guests joined Weekend Breakfast to discuss suicide prevention and the ripple effect of suicide on those left behind



Normalising conversations about mental illness could help save someone's life, says suicide survivor Daryl Brown.

Brown survived a suicide attempt in 2013 after he stepped in front of a train at a London Tube Station.

He's now an ambassador for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) and a motivational speaker who shares his story in the hopes of helping others struggling with their mental health.

Brown says it is important to normalise conversations about mental health to help stem the tide of suicide.

He has opened up about his turning point and recounts the story of when he took the drastic decision to end his life.

I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I just needed relief from that voice in my head that was saying, "You're not good enough", "You're worthless", "You're a failure".

Daryl Brown, Ambassador - South African Depression and Anxiety Group

The only way that we can make it okay for people to ask for help when they need it is to normalise this in conversation for people who have been through it to be open about our journeys and show that you can have depression and still live a fulfilling life.

Daryl Brown, Ambassador - South African Depression and Anxiety Group

Depression doesn't have to be a death sentence, there are ways of managing your mental health.

Daryl Brown, Ambassador - South African Depression and Anxiety Group

Journalist Glynis Horning lost her son to suicide in 2019.

Horning and her husband Chris woke up one Sunday morning almost two years ago to the devastating discovery of their 25-year-old son Spencer dead in his bed.

She says writing her book about her son's death has helped her deal with the devastating loss.

He was gone. Gone forever. That is the reality of what happens when suicide goes through suddenly, devastatingly - they're gone. It's like the door has been closed. The telephone line has been cut, there's no way you can reach them again. That's the devastation.

Glynis Horning, Author - Waterboy: Making sense of my son's suicide

Clinical psychologist Ruth Ancer says it's important to debunk the myths about suicide.

She says not all suicidal people will display the common warning signs.

There can be warning signs, but there can also not be... It's also important to realise that blaming yourself afterwards for not picking up signs is also not helpful.

Ruth Ancer, Clinical psychologist

You can't always tell. Yes, there can be signs, but sometimes there aren't and we miss them.

Ruth Ancer, Clinical psychologist

Grief councillor Gail van Niekerk says loved ones who are impacted by suicide often struggle with feelings of anger, guilt, pain and abandonment.

She says suicide-related grief can be more emotionally taxing but many people don't open up about their pain due to social stigma.

Suicide is unfortunately still stigmatised in society. It's often a socially unspeakable loss which means that they [surviving loved ones] do not have the support necessary from friends which is why counseling can be so important.

Gail van Niekerk, Grief councillor

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Depression doesn't have to be a death sentence' - Panel opens up about suicide

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