“Teen suicide is ‘preventable’” (The New Age, 18/08/2011, p.6) was selected as a GLAD for focusing on the prevention of teenage suicide.
The article looks at a case study of a Grade 9 pupil and how he has identified depression in a friend of his. This is largely due to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) visiting their school and teaching youngsters about this mental disorder, how to identify it and what it could lead to.
Publishing this piece on page six of The New Age shows the newspaper’s concern and prioritization of issues which affect children. Furthermore, as many teenagers often feel neglected, disempowered and unimportant, this story could assist other teenagers who are in a similar situation.
The article also touched on bullying in schools which is a huge problem in South Africa. The New Age accessed a child who spoke of how “mean” her classmates were towards her and avoided subjecting her to negative reprisals by giving her a pseudonym. This is commendable practice as it ensured that the child was protected from victimisation.
By giving this child an opportunity to tell her story, The New Age will confirm to other teenagers in a similar predicament that this is a common problem which can and must be addressed.
The article also provided statistics which gave context to the subject. It went a step further by educating teenagers about how suicide affects people in their age group. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds”, it reported.
Including Sadag’s contact number at the end of the article was also useful for readers who might feel they are on the verge of depression or know someone who might be.
MMA congratulates The New Age on writing such a valuable story that will definitely make a difference in the lives of children and society at large.