SADAG USES FACEBOOK TO REACH THE YOUTH
By: Mbalenhle Sithebe
One in three teens will lose his life by his own hands, with that not being their first attempt of suicide.
9.5% of teen deaths are suicides and 75% of them gave warnings. This is according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG).
According to the SADAG website, SADAC receives over 400 calls and approximately 100 e-mails per day from patients seeking help. SADAG refers them to other mental health professionals, using its extensive referral guide of every listed hospital, clinic, psychologist, psychiatrist and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that offer free medical treatment available for each and every province.
In addition, SADAG also has a 24-hour substance abuse helpline (0800 12 13 14) which is managed by two trained counsellors.
Now SADAG has found a new strategy to stretch its helping hand a little further by opening a Facebook page for young people suffering from mental illness: depression, anxiety, panic, bipolar and others as a platform for them to interact with psychologists.
Amongst the posts shared on SADAG’s Facebook wall are open chats, on Tuesdays and Fridays allowing teenagers that suffer from mental illnesses and their parents to seek first-hand information from professionals that are there to assist.
This is an ongoing platform that has played a big part of teenage suicide awareness.
SADAG founder Zane Wilson told Metro FM that young people like social networks and it was easily accessible for those who needed to reach out for help.
He added that an expert in psychology is invited every second Fridays for a conversation that lasts for an hour.
A total of 3985 people have like the Facebook page which is only a year old and has about 30 to 50 comments on each topic discussed.