24/10/2005 23:12 – (SA)
Linda de Beer, Beeld
Potchefstroom – Residents are dumbfounded by the suicide of a 10-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with depression.
Henco van Wyk, a Grade 4 pupil at the ML Fick primary school, hanged himself under a thatch lapa at his parents’ house in Van Riebeeck Street. His youngest brother Ruan, 6, found his body.
Ruan went to call DJ, the second-oldest of Gerald and Melanie van Wyk’s four sons, and said Henco was “playing at being dead”. DJ untied Henco’s lifeless body and took it down. He vainly tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The oldest brother Gerald, 18, was called from visiting his girlfriend nearby. He and her brother-in-law raced Henco to hospital where doctors tried for ten more minutes to revive him.
Seemed happy the previous night
Henco died a few hours before Rudloph van der Merwe, 15, another young depression patient, who first shot and killed traffic officer Euberth Lebele, 30, and then himself.
Henco was still perfectly happy the previous night when the family was at a farm in the area. He told his mother they should go there again soon so that he could learn to drive the tractor.
He was diagnosed with depression last year, but since Henco began using medication regularly four months ago, his condition improved dramatically, his mother said. Even his teachers noticed a change in him.
The symptoms of his depression included severe exhaustion and moodiness. Henco could not get out of bed some mornings. On Friday he stayed home after complaining he was too tired to go to school.
Van Wyk, a teacher, said she had no advice that would help other parents prevent such a tragedy. The family was sympathetic about Henco’s condition and tried to get the best treatment for him.