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Suicide causes 9 percent of teen deaths

Erik du Preez, a matric pupil from Pretoria, committed suicide earlier this week.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group says nine percent of deaths among young people are caused by suicide. Picture: sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - As the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) prepares to mark Teen Suicide Prevention Week, the organisation says nine percent of deaths among young people are caused by suicide.

Sadag has launched its 'We Care' campaign to raise awareness around the issue.

Earlier this week, a matric pupil at St Alban's College took his own life at his home in Erasmuskloof, Pretoria.

It's not clear why Erik du Preez shot himself.

His mother also committed suicide with the same gun shortly after learning of his suicide.

St Alban's College principal Tom Hamilton says pupils there have been struggling with the news.

"There is always a need for us to look for reasons and to try find explanations for what's happened and particularly so with suicides. Suicides leave so much anger, confusion and damage behind."

The school has offered counselling and support to its pupils.

Sadag's Cassey Chambers says young people who are contemplating suicide can reach out to the organisation.

"We want to let people know that we are around. We have counselors every single day wanting to help. There is always a solution and there is always help."

Teen Suicide Prevention Week runs from 16 to 23 February.