Sadag operations manager Vanishaa Gordhan says it is helpful to attend to changes in eating, sleeping and interaction patterns.

This week on 702 we’re marking Teen Suicide Prevention Week with our partners, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).

Sadag is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group.

We’ll tackle a range of issues related to teen suicide from depression, empowering teacher’s on warning signs as well as hosting a panel of parents who’ve lost kids.

The John Perlman Show has looked at identifying warning signs of teen depression and suicide at home and in the classroom with Sadag operations manager Vanishaa Gordhan.

It’s very important to remember that pre-covid the teachers were face-to-face with the kids and they could see them, now it’s a completely different space. They see them during online learning and things like that.

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

It’s important to maintain that communication and connection to them so that if a student is feeling unwell or if there are concerns they can reach out. The teacher now has to adapt to a different way of doing things and I can imagine it’s very stressful

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

What are the key signs that people should be looking for in teens who are going through difficult times and are not necessarily keen to engage with adults and certainly not always keen to respond to what may be bothering them?

How the teens are behaving? Have they changed significantly? Have their eating patterns changed? Have their sleeping patterns changed? Are they not as excited to be interactive with the classroom teens even if it is during lunch?

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

The difference in that kind of behaviour might be picked by both peers and teachers to actually say: ‘Something might be the matter here, let me find out, let me see if there is support available if they do want to open up.’

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

If you are a teacher and you are concerned with a young person say: ‘How can I help you? Is there something that I can support with?’

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

More often than not a person that is feeling overwhelmed connects with that sense of support and will actually say: ‘I am struggling with this and it’s making me feel overwhelmed and I am struggling to actually maybe manage my time, manage my online classes, manage my relationship, manage any factor that might be influencing them.

Vanishaa Gordhan, Operations manager – South African Depression and Anxiety Group

Listen below for the interview…

The Azania Mosaka Show looks at teen depression and mental wellness with Miss SA 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida: Wednesday at 13:40

The Aubrey Masango Show will host a panel of parents who’ve lost kids along with a representative from Sadag: Thursday at 21:00

For more information call 0800567567

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