Parents urged to be alert to teen depression after suicide of two Gr. 11 pupils
Child behavioural therapist Joanne Galliven says issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and hormonal changes can cause a lot of distress for teenagers.
In 2020, the emotional and mental turmoil has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and isolation caused by the lockdown, she says.
Last week, two grade 11 pupils reportedly committed suicide. The girls, Jade Gouws and Zara Malherbe were both 17.
They attended La Rochelle High School, in Paarl, and reportedly died within 48 hours of each other.
Galliven has urged caregivers to look out for the subtle changes in behaviour and signs of depression before its too late.
The signs include:
- social withdrawal
- loss of interest in activities
- tiredness and loss of energy
- changes in appetite and eating habits
She's also encouraged parents to talk with their teens to try to determine whether or not they are managing with challenging emotions or if they feel overwhelmed by life.
This time of year is very stressful for teens. There's a lot of external pressures going on, they have a lot of internal pressures.Joanne Galliven, Child behavioural therapist
Hormones. Exams, plus the lockdown, that has put enormous pressure on not only families and individuals, but teenagers who rely so heavily on their peers and social networks.Joanne Galliven, Child behavioural therapist
As a parent, you would know your child best so trust your instinct and look for those signs. Even if it's something that you can't quite put your finger on, talk about it with your child.Joanne Galliven, Child behavioural therapist
Try and bring things out as much as you can into the open. Talk about your own feelings and lead them.Joanne Galliven, Child behavioural therapist
If this article has raised issues for you or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.
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