South African Depression and Anxiety Group Launches First Campaign Aimed at Men with Depression
Do you know of a man who is grumpy, irritable, and has no sense of humour? Maybe he drinks too much or abuses alcohol. Maybe he physically or verbally abuses his wife and kids. Maybe he works all the time, or compulsively seeks thrills in high-risk behaviour. Or maybe he seems isolated, withdrawn, and no longer interested in the people or activities he used to enjoy.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) today announced that the rates of depression amongst men in South Africa are at an all time high. The number of men calling into their helpline is climbing alarmingly – up to 97 calls a day - and reports of men not only killing themselves, but taking their families with them, litter the daily newspapers. Research suggests that men are less likely to seek treatment for depression, a serious illness which can be successfully treated. Data also shows that men die by suicide at four times the rate of women.
The statistics obviously point to a desperate situation. In response to this need, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) have launched a nationwide awareness campaign specifically targeted at men. This campaign – Real Men. Real Depression – features the personal stories of men who have lived with depression and who have had the courage to ask for help. As a result of seeking treatment these men have been able to get back to their jobs, families, friends and activities that they enjoyed before they began coping with the symptoms of depression. This will also be the first time that a mental health campaign will be targeted at a cross spectrum of South Africa’s population. The PSA’s accompanying the campaign will be recorded in six languages, thereby targeting as many men as possible.
Instead of acknowledging their feelings, asking for help, or seeking appropriate treatment, men with depression may be more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs, or to become frustrated, discouraged, angry or irritable. Some men throw themselves compulsively into their work or hobbies, attempting to hide their depression from themselves, family, and friends. Depression is a serious medical condition that affects the body, mind and behaviour. Depression can strike anyone regardless of age, ethnic background, social position, or gender.
Although research suggests that depression affects twice as many woman as men, there are findings which also suggest that men tend to talk differently, or and in most cases not at all, about the symptoms of depression. Men may not recognise their irritability, sleep problems, loss of interest in work or hobbies, and withdrawal as signs of depression. As a result, fewer men may recognise their depression and ask for the help they need.
One of the main reasons that depression and mental illness in general are underrecognised by men is because of the large stigma attached to mental illness in the workplace. Many people see depression as a weakness and as a result many men are reluctant to come forward for help. The SADAG hopes that it’s new campaign – Real Men. Real Depression – will help to destigmatise depression amongst South African men and therefore help to save the lives of husbands, sons, brothers and friends.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) is Africa’s largest mental health patient initiative. It’s existence in the mental health field for the last eight years has helped to improve the mental health of thousands of South Africans. The SADAG provides free, confidential telephone counselling by trained counsellors from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Counsellors can be reached on 011 783 1474.
For further information please feel free to contact Julia or Joanna at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group on 011 783 1474