Dr Frans Korb, Psychiatrist and Psychologist, says “Depression and Anxiety are some of the most common mental illnesses in the country. Many people go undiagnosed and untreated because they don’t know the signs and symptoms, and suffer in silence for years.” According to the SA Stress and Health Study (SASH, 2007), only 15.4% of people with a mental disorder received treatment and over 80% of people with a mental disorder DID NOT get treatment.
In South Africa, 1 in 3 people will or do have a mental illness and yet 80% of people with a mental illness DO NOT get treatment. For Mental Health Awareness Month from the 1st – 31st July, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the country’s leading mental health advocacy group, wants to create as much awareness as possible to encourage more people to seek help, treatment and support. There are 23 completed suicides and a further 230 attempted suicides every 24 hours in this country. More needs to be done to help so many people who feel helpless and hopeless.
Mental Illness is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest problems – according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), by the year 2030, mental health will be the leading cause of disability in the world.
Due to the high prevalence of Depression and Anxiety in the country, SADAG, through a grant from Adcock Ingram Pharmaceuticals, is launching a dedicated Depression and Anxiety Helpline (0800 70 80 90) which will offer free telephonic counselling and referrals for callers to resources such as psychologists, psychiatrists, GPs, hospitals, clinics, support groups, counselling centers and other NGOs nationwide. By having a dedicated helpline for people with Depression or Anxiety, as well as their family members and loved ones, to call for help – more people will have access to treatment, care and support.
“Stigma is still a major problem in South African society. Many people don’t know where to go or who to speak to for help - people fear that they will be judged or discriminated against, or that others will think that they are weak. By educating the population about mental illness, we can create more awareness and encourage more people to seek treatment,” says SADAG’s Cassey Chambers.
Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month , SADAG will also be creating awareness through various initiatives:
- Launching the “I AM” campaign which has real people sharing real stories of their mental illness. The campaign seeks to #BreaktheStigma about people living with mental illness and encouraging people to talk about their experience and remind them that they are people, not their illness.
- Online Facebook Friday chats with experts answering all questions related to challenging mental health issues on How to get help for Panic on the 10th July and then we will be discussing Understanding Personality Disorders on the 24th July at 1pm and 7pm
- Distributing our 6th issue of Mental Health Matters Journal to 2500 GPs and 450 Psychiatrists nationwide
- Promoting SADAG’s 250+ Support Groups throughout the country who provide safe, caring environment for people living with a mental illness, as well as family members, an opportunity to share experiences and gain support
- Sharing helpful articles, information and videos via online platforms such as website www.sadag.org, facebook (“The South African Depression and Anxiety Group”) and twitter @TheSADAG
Latest Mental Health Stats:
- Over 30% of SA population will or do have a mental disorder in their lifetime
- 1 in 4 people in the workplace have been diagnosed with Depression
- Employees take an average of 18 days off a year due to their depression
- 1 in 4 female teens have made one or more suicide attempts
- 31.5% teens have attempted suicide that needed medical treatment
- Anxiety Disorders (15.8%) is one of the most prevalent lifetime Mental Disorders
- 15.4% of people with any mental disorder received treatment (meaning that over 80% of people with a mental disorder DO NOT get treatment)
How can you get in touch with SADAG:
- Toll-Free Helpline: 0800 70 80 90
- SMS: 31393
- Website: www.sadag.org
- Facebook: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group
- Twitter: @TheSADAG
Download PDF version of the MENTAL HEALTH FACT SHEET 2014 - click here