A 17-year-old student who says she was called ugly and teased about the shape of her head kills herself.
Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza expressed her shock after finding out about the incident.
The department said that the pupil committed suicide after allegedly being bullied at school.
The department said it is alleged that Andiswa Chiya,17, committed suicide after she had allegedly been bullied by her schoolmates.
It said that the school was celebrating matric results, after performing extremely well, and the learner left school for home after the festivities, only to take her own life in the afternoon.
It is alleged that Andiswa was bullied by others who consistently told her that she was ugly and teased her about the shape of her head.
Khoza said: “It is heartbreaking to lose a child as a result of bullying at school. We have repeated incidents where children take their own lives as a result of bullying. Children cannot contain humiliation.”
Ward councillor Mthobisi Dlamini said that Andiswa’s family was heartbroken.
“This incident has affected the entire community because it is something that has never happened before. We were shocked that the child committed suicide after intense bullying at school,” Dlamini said.
He said if they had known about the challenges Andiswa was facing, they would have intervened timeously to avoid such a tragedy.
Khoza said that children were unable to contain hurtful words from others that ultimately led to some making drastic decisions, such as ending their own lives.
“This is cruelty that all parents should be careful of. The children must be protected at all times and we must be able to help them to deal with depression they encounter as a result of bullying,” Khoza said.
She also urged parents and guardians to talk to teenagers about their mental health. She said it was important for parents to always interact with their children after school in order to detect if they needed support.
Khoza added that depression has been reported as the highest disease burden among adolescents and suicide as the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds, globally.
She said the department was working very hard to protect children at all times.
“It is important that we all understand the signs of depression and talking about mental health is key to preventing suicide. Prevention of teenage suicides starts with a better understanding of the symptoms of depression,” Khoza said.
The MEC dispatched a team of social workers to the family and school to provide psycho-social support. – Daily News