The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) is taking measures to to help combat the worryingly high rate of suicide at universities after agreeing to proposals made by the DA.

According to the NYDA, the only programme currently accessible to young people battling with mental health issues is the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme, which offers a life-skills training programme that includes a module on “Mental Toughness”. The DA has argued that more should be done to assist young people in accessing psychologists, therapists and councillors. With this in mind, the NYDA has agreed to create and implement programmes focused on access to mental health practitioners as a way to ensure that young people in general and those at tertiary institutions can get assistance.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) notes that 75% of people who commit suicide give some warning and that taking these warnings seriously can prevent a death. Risk factors for suicide among young people include mental illness like depression, conduct disorder (disruptive and violent behavior and an inability to follow rules), alcohol and drug abuse and access to firearms in the home.

If you are feeling anxious or depressed and in need of support, you can contact the SADAG Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. You can also check our list of campus support numbers (found at the bottom of the article).