Newcastle’s sudden spike in suicide attempts discussed with TRIVS manager

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Concentrating on a concerning issue coursing through Newcastle, we speak with TRIVS Medical Services Private Ambulance manager, Duresha Jugernath, to learn more about the recent spurt in suicides attempts.

Jugernath begins by saying, there has been a tremendous spike in people overdosing over the past three weeks. “Including adults and children as young as 10-years of age.” What makes this all the more troubling is that TRIVS has recently attended approximately ten attempted suicide incidents. Out of these cases, 30% involved children and 70% were teenagers and adults.

Numerous attempted suicide cases were reported over the Easter weekend, whereby additional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assisted due to the volume of incoming calls.

Post dealing with this increase in suicide attempts, Jugernath speaks about the influence of mental health on our worlds. “Mental health affects every aspect of our lives, emotionally and physically, and if our mental health is not right, how are you going to cope in life,” she asserts.

Regarding children and teenagers, she highlights the contributing factors to suicide being seen within Newcastle are:

  • Bullying
  • School stress
  • Peer pressure
  • The COVID-19 pandemic

In support of this, SAFMH emphasises, the pandemic has created immense stress, panic, fear, and worry because people face great uncertainty and are experiencing profound loss.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) also notes teenagers often think they will be judged solely on their academics.

With COVID-19 and the change in school structures possibly affecting academic performance, SADAG says it is essential to know that teenagers are uncertain about school and their social lives, especially as they experience a shift in their daily lives and schedules of which can be distressing. Therefore, it is vital to bear this in mind and understand why school-goers may be experiencing depression, anxiety, and even potentially considering suicide centred on their educational accomplishments.

Local adults, however, face COVID-19 related and life challenges of a different kind. As Jugernath points out, the pandemic, job loss, business closure, severe financial constraints and work-related stress are key factors. Dedicated to a career and seeing a change, she affirms, it is fundamental to manage one’s emotional strength and health. “As hard as it may be, you need to make necessary changes in your life, which includes removing that what does not make you happy.”

Moreover, she states everyone has at least one person they trust, whether it be a friend, a sibling, parent or work colleague. “You can talk to a healthcare professional, teacher and if they can’t help, ask them who can? Also, who understands your work stress better than your colleagues at your job? Who understands your personal life better than your husband, wife, friend or your brother or sister? You do not have to do this alone.”

With this heartfelt plea coming from a person dealing with the result of mismanaged mental health, Newcastillians who are contemplating taking their own life can contact the following numbers:

  • SA Depression and Anxiety Group Suicide Crisis Line – 0800 567 567
  • Lifeline South Africa – 0861 322 322

What are your thoughts on the matter? Share your views in the comment section below and to our loyal Newcastillian’s in a dark place; please remember, it is never too late to save your life.


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