Experts said they were shocked by the suicide attempt by a 10-year-old boy A Northern Cape community Experts say that children who attempt suicide may be battling with anxiety and an inability to cope with certain situations. According to the report, the youngster who was an orphan being cared for by a guardian, tried to kill himself a week after he returned to school this year. Ever since the parents died, the child has not coping well, according to the guardian.
He often talks to the grandmother about suicide. Expert says that A child who is suicidal needs to be referred to a doctor or a health care professional for evaluation and needs to be engaged in therapy where they can taught coping mechanisms.
A Northern Cape social worker Douglas Tafereyi said cases of childhood suicide are rarely reported, especially when the attempt is unsuccessful.
Tafereyi suggested that most of the parents respond very negatively towards the attempt. They will beat the child and others will treat the matter as witchcraft and consult with traditional health practitioner.
Psychiatrist Dr Helen Clarke, head of the Children, Adolescent and Family Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital says South African children are living in chaos and are not coping. According to her, they are growing up in stressed out and distressed family units and in communities in conflict. she also pointed out the country’s high incidence of HIV-related deaths, road fatalities and murder, also means they are exposed to death from an early age.
For children under the age of 10, attempted suicide is not usually caused by depression but more likely to a situation they can’t cope with and is often coupled with high anxiety, says Clarke. Her youngest suicidal patient was aged 6.
Clarke says children who lose parents or grandparents who care for them often feel that if they die, they will join their loved ones and that a lot of the pain and suffering will end.
She stated that often an attempted suicide comes as a complete shock to parents and care givers: “Our children are living in absolute chaos and stress and urges parents and caregivers to not react angrily to a suicide attempt. "Parents are unaware of their children’s emotional state so it’s usually a big shock.”