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24h Emergency: 082 911 | General Contact: 0860 002 378

Mar 10, 2022

Suicide is complicated and traumatic, but completely preventable. South Africa is experiencing an alarming suicide rate of 23.5%, which is one of the largest suicide rates in the world. In cases as sensitive and delicate as this, knowledge is a lifesaver because knowing the warning signs could help you save a life.

Before diving into the warning signs, here are a few risk factors that make people more susceptible to suicide:

  • mental health issues and substance abuse issues as an individual or within family
  • chronic pain
  • previous exposure to suicide as an individual or within family
  • exposure to sexual or physical violence as an individual or within family
  • presence of firearms in their homes

It’s very important to note that suicidal thoughts are a sign of extreme distress. These thoughts should not be ignored as a suicide attempt is not a normal response to stress. 

It is advisable to seek help if you or anyone close to you starts showing the following signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about life not being worth it or having no reason to live
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and community
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Increasing alcohol or substance abuse
  • Impulsive or reckless behaviour
  • Extreme mood swings
If you see these signs in friends, family, or colleagues, you should help them. In conversation, try your best not to minimise or invalidate how they are feeling, or even worse, shame them into changing their mind. You need to approach them directly in a non-confrontational and non-judgmental way, acknowledge their feelings, and offer them encouragement and support.

Bestmed Mental Health Helpline

Bestmed covers chronic medication for major depression on Beat4, Pace1, Pace2, Pace3, and Pace4 plans.

Bestmed has also partnered with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (#SADAG) to offer members a free 24-hour mental health helpline, with the aim to support members who experience mental health issues by managing its effects, providing additional support, and improving the quality of life. SADAG also offers counselling between 08:00 and 20:00 from Monday to Sunday. Contact SADAG via:


Suicidal Emergency: 0800 567 567

24hr toll-free helpline: 080062 7775

Email: mentalhealth@bestmed.co.za

Counselling inquiry: zane@sadag.org 

SMS: 43323

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