OPINION PIECE: World Suicide Prevention Day 2022

OPINION PIECE: World Suicide Prevention Day 2022

“Creating hope Through Action”

An estimated 703,000 people a year take their life around the world. For every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide. Millions of people suffer intense grief or are otherwise profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviors.

Each suicidal death is a public health concern with a profound impact on those around them. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide, and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.

It is not uncommon for a university student to feel highly pressured by the environment often compound­ed by factors such as broken relationships, loss of loved ones, family mental health history and feelings of failure, loneliness/ sense of disconnection, fitting into a new environment, and financial difficulties. This overwhelming pressure might trigger suicidal thoughts. We all have “down” moments where we feel life is difficult to a point where we believe or think the unknown such as death is the answer.

Red Flags:

If you notice that you are talking about death most of the time; feeling hopeless or are in pain; feeling like withdrawing and isolating yourself; or find that you are losing interest in life, please reach out!

It might feel awkward to reach out and start a conversation and that’s exactly what it is. There is no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings. If you’re at a risk of harming yourself, talk to someone.

Please try and stay away from alcohol and drugs as these can have a negative effect on mental health and well-being.

Suicide feelings and thoughts are preventable. Remember, you are not alone. When you feel you are in a dark corner, look around, there will be someone who can talk to you or make you feel differently.

When suicidal thoughts catch you off guard remember the following basic tips:

  1. Stand up and physically stretch your arms
  2. Take a few steps backwards and forward
  3. Look around preferably see the light of the sun, if at night put the lights on
  4. Identify an interesting item/thing you can see
  5. Appreciate it
  6. Engage in a focused breathing exercise
  7. As you breath out see the thought/pain moving out of your body
  8. As you breath in fill you whole body with the colour you like most which brings in relaxation in your body
  9. Do this breathing exercise for about 15 minutes and sense into your body
  10. Talk to your self and say the following three time: “I AM HERE”
  11. Confront the “bad” thought
  12. Stay focused on positive things
  13. Fill your whole body with HOPE as you continue breathing.

Remember:  We co-exist. You are because we are! You are here for a specific purpose. We care about you.

14. If the suicide thought persists beyond this – reach out and call someone immediately.


You may also contact the emergency phone numbers listed below.

Suicide Help:0800 567 567
Lifeline South Africa:0861 322 322
Let’s talk e-intervention:0800 205 026
AIDS Helpline:0800 012 322
National Counselling Line:0861 322 322
National Gender Based Violence Command Centre:Call 0800 428 428 or “Please call me” *120*7867# Skype Line ‘Helpme GBV’ for members of the deaf community also exists. (Add ‘Helpme GBV’ to your Skype contacts). An SMS based Line, (31531) for persons with disabilities (SMS ‘help’ to 31531) also exists. The Centre is able to refer calls directly to SAPS (10111) and field social workers who respond to victims of GBV.
  • Xolile T. Nkonyane: Students Services Department – Guidance & Counselling

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