Monday 10th October is World Mental Health Day – a day set by WHO as a global opportunity to raise “awareness of Mental Health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of Mental Health”. Mental Health is still largely considered ‘taboo’ or a ‘curse’ in many South African communities. In most cases, people are afraid to speak up and seek help. 1 in 3 South Africans will or do have a Mental Illness at some point in their lives.
“We need to raise the profile of Mental Health by creating awareness, especially among the youth who are becoming increasingly affected by psychological and psychiatric conditions. I think it'd be great to see more prominent local public figures - including actors, singers and celebrities - speaking positively and sincerely about Mental Health" – says Psychiatrist Dr Mike West from Akeso Milnerton Clinic.
Accessing help, or knowing where to go or who to speak to can be challenging. SADAG provides people access to top experts answering any questions via Facebook Friday online chats. Whether for themselves, or someone else, they can ask the Psychiatrists questions on any Mental Health issues such as Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Trauma, Substance Abuse, Suicide, etc.
Wherever you are in country, you can join our Facebook Friday FREE online chat on the 14th October at 1pm & 7pm – this is a great platform for anyone who needs Mental Health advice.
The afternoon chat is at 1pm – 2pm with Psychiatrist Dr. Mike West from Akeso Milnerton Clinic, Cape Town. The evening chat at 7pm – 8pm is with Psychiatrist Dr. Carina Marsay from Johannesburg. They will be available to answer all questions for an hour.
To join the chats, LIKE SADAG’s Facebook Page: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group. Facebook users that would like to remain anonymous can send a private message and SADAG will ask on their behalf.
For anyone who needs further help, SADAG provides FREE telephonic counselling and nationwide referrals to Support Groups, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Clinics, etc. Call 0800 70 80 90, or SMS 31393 which is open 7 days a week, every day of the year, from 8am - 8pm or visit www.sadag.org for more info.
Tips to boost your mental well-being:
- Ask for help - ask a friend for advice on how you can get in touch with experts. You can also speak to a counsellor or community Mental Health service.
- Deal with Stress - be aware of what triggers your Stress and how you react. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to prepare for or manage others.
- Join a Support Group - get in touch with people who share the same sentiments as you. Listening to other people share their stories can encourage you to open up.
- Spend time with people you love – avoid people who are not supportive
- Think positively – avoid blaming yourself but rather focus on getting a healthier lifestyle going forward
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