Today the 10th October is World Mental Health Day. Across the globe, Mental Health professionals, NGO’S and patients talk about Mental Health. The overall aim of this international health day, as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is to raise awareness about mental health issues; mobilise Mental Health support efforts, and give organisations the opportunity to engage their communities about making Mental Health a reality for all.
1 in 3 South Africans will or do have a Mental Illness at some point in their lives.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) was founded in 1994 as a Mental Health outreach and education advocacy NGO. SADAG runs a 16-line toll-free counselling call centre; helps facilitate over 200 support groups nationwide; trains hundreds of volunteers; lobbies government for the rights of psychiatric patients and is a visible force in the press and media continually raising awareness about mental health issues and destigmatising what is all-too-often a very isolating category of illness.
It is with this in mind, that SADAG will be celebrating this year’s World Mental Health Day by giving back. The theme of this year’s #WMHD2016 is “Psychological First Aid” which covers both psychological and social support. “No Mental Health care system should be about psychological support alone”, says SADAG’s Operations Director, Cassey Chambers.
“Immediately after a crisis, the first-line responders are often family, neighbours, teachers or community members, often people not trained to provide long-term assistance.” Psychological First Aid is about providing practical, humane support and assistance; addressing basic and immediate needs; comforting people and listening; and helping people connect to information, services and social supports.
“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.
SADAG will also be participating in various training, wellness & talks workshops:
10th October: Charlotte Maxeke Wellness Day; University of Stellenbosch Wellness Day
11th October: Rotary Health Day Launch
12th October: Life Healthcare Training College Mental Health Presentation; Baragwanath Hospital Staff Mental Health Talk
13th October: University of Pretoria Wellness Day
16th October: Newclare Church Talk
19th October: Weskoppies Mental Health Awareness Day
For those who cannot join SADAG in person at one of the venues but would like to engage with the experts on World Mental Health Day, SADAG will be taking to Social Media to provide free help to people around the country. SADAG’s Facebook Friday for World Mental Health Day will be on Friday 14th October at 1pm – 2pm and again at 7pm – 8pm.
Accessing help, or not 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 two Psychiatrists who will be chatting questions on any Mental Health issues such as Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Trauma, Substance Abuse, Suicide, etc.
For details about SADAG’s online chats, login details and experts, please visit www.sadag.org
We know that people do better over the long-term if they feel safe and connected; have access to support, and regain a sense of control of their lives. Psychological First Aid has the power to restore dignity in Mental Health – to caregivers and patients.
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
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